Wokingham District Veteran Tree Association

What are Veteran Trees?

Age and maturity

MRN 15

MRN 15: English Oak, Cantley Park

WDVTA defines veteran trees as those that have reached full maturity and are showing signs of ageing. The age at which this occurs varies with species so an oak tree, for example, will take many more years to mature than a silver birch.

Veterans are characterised by a number of features such as cavities and bark loss, which provide a good habitat for wildlife. One indicator is girth - for example, an oak may grow to over six metres. In our survey of the Wokingham district we look especially for trees with a girth of three metres or more.

Our Tree Sizing Guide will help you determine the age of a tree based on a measurement of its girth.

The importance of veteran trees

Oriental Plane

MRN 1887: Oriental Plane, Barkham

All trees, but especially veteran trees, are important and beautiful features of our landscape. They give changing colour and interest through the seasons and remind us of our closeness to the natural world, even in built up areas.

Veteran trees are an irreplaceable part of England's landscape and biological heritage. They are of international importance as the UK is host to many more veteran trees than any other Northern European country. A number of these trees are to be found in the district of Wokingham, probably descendants of ancient oaks and other native trees that grew in the original Windsor Forest. Veteran trees such as these may well represent a gene pool that links back to the natural woodland (the 'wildwood') that covered Britain thousands of years ago.

Old trees of all kinds can remind us of the different ways in which our land was used in the more recent past, particularly for agriculture and as gardens, orchards and parkland. They are especially valuable for biodiversity as they can support a rich variety of wildlife, including lichens, mosses, invertebrates and small mammals.

The WDVTA database of Veteran Trees

Oak tree 1369b

MRN 1369: English Oak, Remenham

Since 2007, WDVTA members worked tirelessly to survey Wokingham Borough collecting information on its finest trees. This has been compiled into a database with more than 7000 entries detailing location, size, species and condition with accompanying photographs. On the database summary page you can see how many trees of each species have been recorded in each of Wokingham's parishes and view photographs of the more notable specimens.

Commemorative Trees

Several members pointed out that our database of veterans didn't contain all of Wokingham's interesting and significant trees. Over the years trees have been planted for commemorative and memorial purposes and WDVTA is now recording these trees separately.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Tree planting in 2012 is a notable example - here you can find a map and details of the Jubilee Tree plantings.

Here are more details of the Commemorative Trees project.