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The Ancient Trees of Markstakes Common, East Sussex

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Ink drawing of an ancient oak

Thirty-Four trees were recognised as 'notable' and in a few instances 'veteran': hornbeam, ash, beech, birch and oak. This was in 2011. Since then one tree has fallen, two died and one broken off at around 3m. Does that bring the number down to 30? My searches could add a further six to the list - trees missed a decade ago.

As I explore the woods and try to figure out what makes one tree 'ancient' and another not I have found myself drawing them, in charcoal on A2 sheets in the summer, in a small drawing pad initially, and now in a larger book in ink - once home I transfer the picture onto an A1 sheet and from photographs try to add in the rest of the tree right into the canopy.


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