Barnsley Biodiversity Trust: Barnsley Biodiversity Action Plan. Last Updated February 2018

Veteran trees with their substantial girth, hollows, holes and crevices, rot, and dead wood, support a a wide range of often uncommon fungi, lichen, mosses, invertebrates - particularly beetles, and notably bats.

The size and distinctive shapes of veteran trees, both native and non-native species, are important features of our cultural landscape.

Veteran trees are usually old, beyond the peak of their growth. They may also be younger, middle-aged trees with aging characteristics:

Dedicated to the  memory of Janet Carbutt-Lang who led BBT work on veteran trees

  • Girth large for the tree species with trunk hollowing
  • Crown retrenchment and reiterative growth
  • Dead wood in the canopy and often on the ground
  • Split, broken and dead limbs
  • Cavities, holes and rot sites; crevices in the bark
  • Old wounds and scars; sap runs; loose and lost bark
  • High number of interdependent wildlife species including fungi, epiphytes, invertebrates.

Most veteran trees are found in historic parklands (60% nationally), however some are found as isolated individuals or in small numbers in hedgerows, churchyards and, as relics of older landscapes, in fields.

Some smaller trees may be veteran, for example hawthorn , some trees that have been repeatedly coppiced or pollarded, and some growing in adverse conditions.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF 118) and Natural England’s Standing Advice on protecting Veteran Trees from development includes Veteran Trees whether they are within parkland, or in other areas. Standing Advice is a material consideration in planning applications.

More information on Veteran Trees is to be found on the Parkland habitat page.

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