On Sunday 25th of November 2007, a small group of volunteers took part in a project to try to date some of the trees in Park Wood. By measuring the girth of a tree at chest height it is possible to arrive at a date for its age. In practice one actually gets a range of dates as tree growth is affected by the tree’s historical situation; a tree in the open grows more rapidly than a tree in a wood where there is competition.
The first tree measured was one of a line of yews that stand at the northern end of the old walled garden. This tree had a girth of 11 feet which would make it between 223 and 300 years old.
The second tree measured was a substantial beech tree which stands nearby, close to the edge of the meadow. This tree had a girth of 11 feet 6 inches which makes it between 140 and 233 years old.
The third tree measured was a large oak tree which stands at the northern end of the meadow. This tree with a girth of 15 feet 4 inches was between 190 and 316 years old.
A second large oak standing in the meadow (the one with the rusty agricultural implement at its base) had a girth of 11 feet 10 inches indicating that it was between 194 and 323 years old.
At the southern end of the walled garden, near the capped well, we measured a sycamore. Its girth of 4 feet 2 inches indicated an age of 52 years. This ties in neatly with the known history; the garden fell into disrepair and became overgrown in the 1950s.
The last tree measured was what appears to be the largest yew in the wood. This tree had an impressive girth of 14 feet 3 inches. This gives it an age of at least 505 years, making it at least a Tudor tree. The tree could possibly be even older.