Monday, 25 March 2013

Old Elm tree on Gowbarrow Fell


Close to Aira Force next to the path that leads up onto Gowbarrow fell beside Ullswater is this really old Elm tree. It is an ancient pollard that has lasted for hundreds of years. A pollard is where the crown of the tree has been reduced to about 3 metres above ground level so grazing animals would not eat the new shoots that grew from the stem, back in those days this would have been deer as Gowbarrow is an old deer park.  

As you can see the trunk of the tree is quite rotten and open and only about half of it remaining. We were worried that the weight of the crown would get too heavy for the stem to support and pull the tree over so we decided we had to reduce the weight by cutting back some of the branches.

Luckily we could do this with the high pruning saw as we didn't think it was safe to climb.

Here is one of the branches we cut off, I counted over fourty growth rings in just this thin branch and it shows how slow growing it has been. At a guess i would say it must be over 150 years since the tree was last pollarded and who knows how many times it was pollarded before that so this could easily make the tree 300-400 years old. The work we have done will now hopefully keep the tree going for another 100 years and interest the many walkers that pass by it.

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