The comprehensive and detailed survey of the ancient and veteran trees in and around Dallington Forest has recently been published. It was carried out by Jamie Simpson and John Smith and funded by the Peter William George Smith Charitable Trust, and it can be downloaded from a page on the High Weald AONB website http://www.highweald.org/high-weald-aonb-management-plan/evidence/420-home/research-reports/2316-dallington-forest-tree-survey.html
This report highlights the importance of ancient and veteran trees at Dallington Forest. The study is the result of an extensive project aiming to establish and promote the ecological value of the area and advise on best practice in managing the landscape.
The research has confirmed that high numbers of veteran and ancient trees are characteristic of the Dallington Forest area, a well-wooded area with a long history of woodland management that is typical of the High Weald AONB.
A total of 1014 individual trees and 15 groups of trees were recorded (987 alive and 27 dead). There were 22 species of tree and shrub, with beech (41%) and oak (33%) dominating. In terms of age class 49% of the trees were veteran and 6% were ancient.
Many of the trees, particularly those in woodland, require sympathetic management to remove competitive growth (haloing) following the cessation of traditional woodland management. This will benefit species associated with veteran and ancient trees, particularly those that utilise decaying wood (saproxylic), as they require some light and warmth.