Our area is not particularly well forested; we therefore really appreciate our trees. There are plenty of hedgerows with hazelnuts, sloe berries, plums, apples and blackberries to feed the red squirrels and birds. The common trees are sycamore, mountain ash and rowan which seed in abundance.
Jubilee Park on the south side of Kirkby Stephen has a mature wood planted by Andrew MacKereth, the Workhouse Manager, around 1887 to commemorate the jubilee of Queen Victoria. The canopy of trees consists mainly of horse chestnut, lime and beech which turn glorious shades in autumn but there are some unusual specimen trees; see what you can spot. Much of the rest of the garden has now been left wild as a nature reserve, with the orchids in the meadow.
Ravenstonedale is our most forested village with many mature trees but it has not always been so. Looking at old photographs you will realise that the majority have been planted just over 100 years ago.
There is a long line of beech trees planted along the line of the old Bloody Bones Lane. You will see a particularly large specimen between the Christian Head car park and the lane to the town centre by the Auction Mart.
Edensyde next to Mark Johns Garage, Kirkby Stephen was planted in 2010 by volunteers with a mixture of British trees. Come and see how they are growing and identify the trees. This is a pretty walk along the river both sides.
Kirkby Stephen Parish Church yard has a line of mature lime trees and some specimen weeping silver leafed pears. A very tranquil spot to enjoy which includes a lovely border
At Outhgill in Mallerstang and in Hartley there are the more exotic Monkey Puzzle trees.
We lost our majestic elms like everyone else to Dutch Elm disease but we have a very old Wych Elm from which cuttings have been taken to begin a new dynasty of disease resistant trees for the future. This tree is in Tarn Lane on the western edge of Kirkby Stephen. How old do you think it is?
Just outside Wharton Hall as you turn off for Nateby footpath there is an ancient oak. You can choose to believe the stories that this tree was planted by Lord Wharton about 1560 or that it is where Bonny Prince Charlie hid.
On open grasslands you will see the Juniper Trees, This is not a particularly attractive tree but its berries do flavor gin. The Juniper is a very important habitat in our area for forty species of bugs and fungi.
Stenkrith Park next to the River Eden waterfalls is probably our best wood in the area. This offers not only enjoyment of the river with the Millennium Bridge viewpoint over the gorge but all the usual woodland fun including the best place to look for fairies.
New for this year is the Eden’s Ancient Ash Tree Trail by Silviculture Research International, wh is dedicated to the ancient ash trees in Eden District, in partnership with the Heart of Eden. Download a free trail.