The Prince of Wales has called for the nation’s “dwindling” historic natural habitat to be renewed as he unveiled a collection of ancient woodlands and trees dedicated to the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee.
Charles said these “precious” assets, which support biodiversity and provided materials for craft workers, needed to be preserved for future generations.
Among the 70 ancient woodlands and 70 trees dedicated to the Queen are some of the nation’s most natural features, from the Boscobel Oak in Shropshire, a descendant of the tree Charles II used to hide from parliamentary forces in 1651, to Sussex’s Five Hundred Acre the inspiration for 100 Acre Wood in the Children’s classic Winnie the Pooh.
Charles’ comments were made in a video message recorded under one of the 70 ancient trees, the old Sycamore at Dumfries House in Scotland, home to the heir to the throne’s Prince’s Foundation.
He said: “I believe it is absolutely vital that we do our utmost to nurture our historic inheritance through careful management and, in the case of the woodlands, that we can expand them and link them to other natural features like our hedgerows.
“And if we are to create the ‘ancient’ trees of the future, we must plant more trees in hedgerows, fields, churchyards and avenues.
“Furthermore, I would suggest that some of those planted should be propagated from today’s ancient trees, thus helping to preserve their unique provenance and heritage.
“These working woodlands and magnificent trees span our nation’s amazing landscape and exist for everyone to enjoy.
“At the same time, they support biodiversity, and help to provide us with the most versatile and beautiful of materials for our craftsmen and women.”
The prince went on to say: “But we need to replenish these precious, dwindling assets for future generations and for our depleted landscapes and townscapes.”
Charles is patron of the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC), a tree-planting initiative which has been encouraging people to plant a tree for the Jubilee to create a legacy in honour of the Queen.
Among the ancient trees dedicated to the monarch is the atmospheric Yew framing the North Door of St Edward’s Church, Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire, which may have inspired JRR Tolkien’s description of the Doors of Durin in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Fellowship Of The Ring.
Another entrant is Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree in the orchard at Woolsthorpe Manor near Grantham, Lincolnshire, which caused the mathematician to question why apples always fell straight down to the ground.
In Wales, the Wyesham Oak takes centre stage on a road bearing its name, Oak Crescent, where residents past and present take pride in their connection to the 1,000-year-old tree which has stood the test of time and development.
While in Northern Ireland, QGC ambassador Lady Mary Peters, former Olympic athlete and advocate for older people to exercise more, has used Hazelbank Park on the shores of Belfast Lough as a location to gather walkers to promote how outdoor spaces are vital for health and wellbeing.