Jun 05 2021

A great day out with the giants



There were metaphorical giants and real giants at Preston Hall near Pathhead, south of Edinburgh, on Friday 28th May!





The metaphorical ones were the volunteers who put in giant efforts with recording and verifying trees for the Ancient Tree Inventory (ATI).  The Ancient Tree Verifiers in Scotland have been with us for many years and have a formed a tight and friendly group who often get together to record.  Covid, of course, put a spanner in those works but now they are delighted that they can get out together again to share their love of old trees.


As it’s National Volunteers’ Week I wanted to thank the Verifiers for all their incredible hard work….they truly are inspiring and in Scotlamd have added and verified many thousands of records to the ATI.  These volunteers are trained to be able to verify tree records accurately, but anyone can add a tree to the ATI..you don’t need to be signed up as an Ancient Tree Verifer volunteer for this.  Have a go if you’d like…the more records of old trees we have the better!  The verifiers will then verify your new records.


From left to right: me and my dog Molly, Stuart, Judith, Judy, Clair and Keith


The real giants were the spectacular trees at Preston Hall…a stunning house with rolling parkland, woodland and a beautiful walled garden.


Preston Hall


We recorded some huge ash, beech, lime, oak, horse chestnut, sycamore, yew and cedar.  Many we classified as veteran but none quite fitted into the ancient category.


It was such a great day..I’l let the images speak for themselves!



Judy, Stuart and Keith

Well learned lunchbreak on a fallen lime tree.

I think this is a nettle weevil..there were certainly plenty of nettles around.

The beautiful sculptural effect of grazing on large trees of open habitat.

Molly dog helping out!


The stunning grounds and temple folly.

Someone’s nesting in a hollow in an oak!…we think a wren.

Judy and Keith recording a beautiful gnarled old hawthorn

The nest in the oak hollow

Strange fasciation growth in a sycamore causing an alteration to leaf colour.

Stunning early summer horse chestnut leaves

Inside the magical world of epicormic growth on a lime tree

An interesting deadwood fungi

Clair recording a massive horse chestnut…this tree was huge and ful of valuable deadwod habitat.

The huge horse chestnut

Massive cedar …a county champion


The end of a brilliant day..well done guys!


Matilda Scharsach

Scotland Volunteering Development Officer

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