Searching for Britain’s Tallest Native Tree

We had some useful info when we set out.  Someone had already found it, and featured it in the Guardian, with a photo, and the name of the wood it was in.  But woods are big places – well this one was.

Steve and I took the No17 bus out to near Newtimber Hill, and headed in the general direction, passing a pleasing valley of gorse and blackthorn in flower.

East of Newtimber Hill a valley of gorse and blackthorn.

East of Newtimber Hill a valley of gorse and blackthorn.

Blackthorn in the foreground (good area for sloes in the autumn), and Steve near the gorse, where he encourages me to smell the yellow flowers and note the pineapple scent.

Blackthorn in the foreground (good area for sloes in the autumn), and Steve near the gorse, where he encourages me to smell the yellow flowers and note the pineapple scent.

A while later and we accessed the woods, but saw no beech trees at all, and nothing remotely approaching 144 feet tall.  But this was the top of the hill.  We decided that the best place to grow a really tall tree would be on the north facing steep slopes where the hill would offer protection from SW winds, and provide extra need to strive upwards, to get into the sun.

We found a route leading down the scarp face and set out.  After only 10 minutes we saw the brown leaf-strewn bare ground common under beech woods, and surging upwards from the leafy floor a group of smooth, grey-barked big beeches.  It was a steep slip and slide to reach our target and take some pictures to prove we found it.  Not that they prove anything unless you compare the Guardian pic and see the similarity.

Steve took this one.

Steve took this one.

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