Some of our ancient and the largest trees have been surveyed in the past but there never was a comprehensive ancient tree register. In 2002, Jeremy Wright, a tree enthusiast and Heath Hands volunteer, together with Deborah Wolton, Heath Hands trustee, launched a detailed survey to record various aspects of the ancient trees on the Heath.
The ambitious survey, was to follow the trees marked on the 1870 Ordnance Maps. Teams of volunteers planned to locate each tree, identify the species, measure its girth and note down a myriad of important features. Altogether, some 26 characteristics of each tree were recorded including whether the trees were part of ancient boundary lines, whether surgery had been performed and whether significant biodiversity was supported.
790 trees were surveyed in total, with many oaks between 200 and 300 years old, and some perhaps being over 400. Impressive specimens of beech, horse chestnuts and poplar were also recored. The survey helped improve the future management of the veteran trees and their surroundings, and most importantly, helped plan for succeeding generations of woodland.