To celebrate National Tree Week we have asked some of our staff about their favourite trees. These might not feature on any of the top trees in the country lists but they are all special in their own way.
There was a large yew tree at the school my dad taught at. Creeping through the branches you would come through to the centre of the tree and a natural hollow. As a child it felt like a magical world you could go and hide in for whatever adventure you wanted. Amongst other things that tree has been a spaceship, a witches den and an under-sea world!
Growing up we had a dumpling apple tree in my grandparents orchard. These apples are perfect for coring, filling with dried fruit, wrapping in pastry and baking in the oven. The flavour is like no other and the flesh goes amazingly soft and fluffy. They do however bruise very easily so you need to carefully pick them by hand one at a time, as they will rapidly spoil if they get any damage at all. It was my job as a child to go up the tree and carefully pick them. Apple dumplings were a really good incentive to learn to climb trees!
There is magnificent old oak that has recently shed a few limbs on the bridle way at Briddlesford reserve. It is probably about 500/600 years old. It is starting to die back now and starting the new phase of its long life and will be an amazing habitat for many years to come for both living and dead wood specialists.
I do love willows. But, I have to confess my favourite tree is a fictional tree – the Whomping Willow – from the Harry Potter books. I love the idea of a tree that you have to treat with respect or it will give you a whack!