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Blickling’s Trees Part of Jubilee Celebrations

Ancient trees and woodland at Blickling has been chosen as part of a nationwide network of 70 Ancient Woodlands and Trees to be dedicated to The Queen in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee.

The Queen’s Green Canopy recently announced the network of 70 Ancient Woodlands and 70 Ancient Trees across the United Kingdom which will form part of the Ancient Canopy to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service.

The initiative was launched by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who is Patron of The Queen’s Green Canopy, under one of the Ancient Tree dedications – the old Sycamore located at Dumfries House in Scotland.

Stuart Banks, Countryside Manager, the National Trust’s Blickling Estate in Norfolk, said:
“The park at Blickling is home to between 750 and 1000 veteran trees within an area of 500 acres (200 Ha).  Among the trees in the park are ancient small-leaved lime; once the dominant tree species in this part of the world. While the wildwoods of East Anglia are long gone, our small-leaved limes certainly nod back to a very different past. Some of them are on long-forgotten wood banks which show past boundaries which predate the Blickling park we know today and have certainly stood for longer than the hall and much of the estate as we know it.

“As well as these, there are hundreds of gnarled and broken oaks, twisted chestnuts and several other species.  Veteran trees are so important not only for their place in our history and culture, but for the staggering biodiversity that they support.  Species have evolved to live in and on these trees; making use of the dead and decaying fibres within and finding nooks and crannies to lay their eggs and rear their young.

“This dedication is an acknowledgement of the significance of Blickling’s collection of ancient and veteran trees as a sustainable population for both the trees and the species that are dependant on them.”

John Deakin, Head of Woodlands at the National Trust said:
“We are delighted to have five woodlands and eight of our notable trees included in this prestigious list and dedicated to The Queen’s remarkable 70 year reign.

Trees mean so much to so many people and these dedications present a wonderful opportunity to share the brilliant stories of some of the UK’s most significant trees and woodlands which have themselves witnessed remarkable periods in history and have their own stories to tell. These include trees like Newton’s apple tree at Woolsthorpe Manor, where the scientist first questioned, and then came up with, the theory of gravity after an apple fell to the ground beside him, and the oldest tree in our care – the 2,500 year old Ankerwycke Yew at Runnymede in Surrey close to the site of the sealing of the Magna Carta.”

Established over hundreds of years, the chosen woodlands and trees represent the diverse canopy of the four nations, it is a celebration of our living heritage. All the woodlands and trees have a story to tell. Some are famous specimens and others have a local significance.

These Ancient natural spaces hold significance and meaning for so many people in many different ways. They are symbols of community pride, places to connect socially and vital spaces for health and wellbeing activities.

By sharing the stories behind the Ancient woodlands and trees, as well as the incredible efforts that are made to protect them, The Queen’s Green Canopy aims to raise awareness of these treasured habitats and the importance of conserving them for future generations.

The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.

As well as inviting the planting of new trees, The Queen’s Green Canopy will dedicate a network of 70 Ancient Woodlands across the United Kingdom and identify 70 Ancient Trees to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service.

Inclusion on the QGC list is a symbolic gift which involves the voluntary dedication of forests and woodland – there is no land/title transfer.

The nominated Woodlands and Trees met a specific criterion set out by the QGC. There is no set age for a tree to be considered ancient, as different species age at different rates. Further information is available here.

The dedicated trees and woodlands occur in rural and urban spaces, natural and planted settings. There is a range of ownership including large landowners, local authorities and private individuals.

Blickling Estate is a 5,000 acre National Trust property in Norfolk with extensive parkland, formal gardens and a magnificent Jacobean mansion nestled at its heart. Blickling has always been a place of pilgrimage and tranquillity and today it continues to extend the warmest of welcomes to all who visit. The National Trust is currently embarking on an ambitious conservation project to safeguard Blickling and its collection from the environmental threats they face, ensuring supporters can continue to enjoy and be inspired by this enchanting place for generations.

Blickling woodland with bluebells - photo Reg Harris.