Tree trail proves fascinating for conservationists

Ferring Conservation Group's Tree Identification Walk
Ferring Conservation Group's Tree Identification Walk

FERRING Conservation Group was challenged to name ten different varieties on a Tree Identification Walk.

Dressed for predicted showers, 20 keen members set out from the Bluebird Café car park in Ferring, led by Tricia Hall, the group’s wildlife expert.

Ferring Conservation Group's Tree Identification Walk

Ferring Conservation Group's Tree Identification Walk

Jane Hayman, from Ferring Conservation Group, said: “Tricia challenged us to try to identify ten trees along the way and gave us further facts to add to our knowledge as we came to each tree.”

The first tree correctly identified was a white poplar, an untidy looking tree with dark green-grey leaves and pale grey bark.

Further along the bank, a graceful crack willow was spotted, one of 300 species of willow worldwide. This is one of Britain’s largest native trees, named after the sound made when its branches and twigs fall to the ground.

As a kestrel hovered overhead, the walkers headed west towards Kingston. Treading carefully along the muddy paths, they successfully identified an English elm.

Tricia told the group that Dutch elm disease actually originated in America but was identified by phytopathologists in Holland. The disease has killed more than 60 million British elms in two epidemics and continues to spread today.

As the group headed back towards the west bank of The Rife, they came across a majestic English oak tree. These trees grow to between 20 to 40 metres tall and have leaves that typically have little stem and grow in bunches.

For thousands of years, oak was the prized hardwood timber used for ship building until the mid-19th century, and remains a popular wood for house building.

Jane said: “As our walk came to an end and we made our way northwards to Ferring Country Centre for some well-deserved refreshment, we reflected on our eye-opening journey into our dependence on trees and the benefits they have to all mankind and how every tree has its own story to tell.”

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