Respect Your Elders

We are doing a very good job of replanting the trees that we use and creating sustainable products: recycled paper, eco-friendly furniture and toys, wood chips and sawdust for the garden. The question is, are we planting the right trees and are we doing enough to preserve our ancient woodland?

The oldest tree in the UK is thought to be in Perthshire. A Yew tree estimated to be between two and three thousand years old. Some think it could even be as old as five thousand years. If only a tree could talk…

Fortingall Yew Trunk by Mogens Engelund

Fortingall Yew Trunk by Mogens Engelund

The posts around the bottom of this tree show how big the tree’s trunk once was.

Ancient trees are valuable wildlife habitats for insects, fungi, moss, birds and invertebrates. The Stag Beetle is one such animal and its larvae feeds on dead or decaying wood such as these ancient trees. Due to a loss of habitat, the Stag Beetle is endangered and now a protected species. It is red-listed in most European countries. In Denmark and Latvia, the Stag Beetle is extinct.

Photo via

Stag Beetle – Photo via

Ancient woodland accounts for just 2% of Britain’s land. It’s vital we preserve it as well as replanting the trees we use. When we do replant trees it’s also important that we don’t import trees. If they are planted next to our remaining ancient woodland, it can upset the eco-system, as imported trees behave in a different way to the native trees, competing with them.

So how can us beans help ancient woodland?

  • Be aware of climate change and make changes in the choices we make, that’s what this blog’s all about.
  • Support the Woodland Trust, who campaign to preserve woodland and the delicate balance of its eco-systems
  • Get out and engage with nature, enjoy the woodland we have, respect it and treasure it.

2 thoughts on “Respect Your Elders

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    First, I have to say I love the title of this post!! So clever on a few levels! But you make a serious and well-taken point. Ancient-growth woodlands are so important to us on a lot of levels. We do need to preserve them.


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