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Neighbourhood nature
Neighbourhood nature

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2 Ancient trees

The 'Sherwood Forest' clip in Activity 1 mentioned that one piece of evidence for an ancient wood was the presence of ancient trees. However, ancient trees are a habitat of conservation importance in their own right. Not only are they are a valued part of the UK's heritage and culture, they also support wildlife that cannot live anywhere else. Ancient trees are home to hundreds of specialised species, many of which are extremely rare. The UK has more ancient trees than anywhere else in Europe, so those that are here are of international importance.

Today, many of the surviving ancient trees can be found in the vestiges of the once extensive system of royal hunting forests and their successors, the more formalised medieval deer parks. Scattered groups of trees can also be found in historic parkland, wood pasture and ancient wooded commons. Small groups and individual specimens can also be found in the midst of housing estates and urban parks, on farmland, village greens, churchyards, and within the grounds of historic buildings. In the open countryside, scattered across much of England, ancient black poplars (Populus nigra) can be found on flood plains in meadows and occasionally in ancient hedges.