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Propping Whole Trees

Introduction Propping Whole Trees Keeping a Clear Path
Carrying the Canopy Overhead A Single Support Candidates for Future Propping?

At Rotherfield in Sussex two leaning fragments are all that remain of a once immense tree. Such is the value placed on these fragments that over time no fewer than 13 stout props have been introduced to provide support.

Rotherfield Yew -1999 © Tim Hills
 

Rotherfield Yew -1999 © Tim Hills
Rotherfield Yew -1999 © Tim Hills

At nearby Wilmington is a yew described by Owen Johnson (The Sussex Tree Book – 1998) as “probably the healed halves of a single stem which split apart many centuries ago”.  This tree was photographed more than 100 years ago for The Yew Trees of Great Britain and Ireland  by John Lowe. As the weight bearing down on these two ‘healed’ trunks has increased, props have been positioned to support the tree. 

Wilmington Yew -1999 © Tim Hills Wilmington Yew -1999 © Tim Hills
Wilmington Yew -1999 © Tim Hills
Wilmington Yew -1999 © Tim Hills

The Wiltshire village of Alderbury came close to losing its ancient yew fragment in the 1990s when St Mary’s Parochial Church Council applied for consent to fell it. Perhaps they were unaware that this was one of the oldest trees in Wiltshire. A successful campaign to save the yew was led by David Bellamy and the Conservation Foundation; a reduction of its top heavy crown and a few well placed props have ensured its survival.


Alderbury Yew - 1999 © Tim Hills

In Somerset the yews at Churchill and Bicknoller are similarly supported on several props.

Propped yews at Churchill (2000)
Propped yews at Churchill (2000)
Bicknoller (1997) © Tim Hills
Bicknoller (1997) © Tim Hills
Introduction Propping Whole Trees Keeping a Clear Path
Carrying the Canopy Overhead A Single Support Candidates for Future Propping?