Back in April I was introduced to ‘Big Bill’ which is an important keystone tree at
Flagstaff Hill, near High Beech in Epping Forest. This is an impressive tall and straight pollarded Beech which is used for training arborists in climbing and health and safety.
Although the picture gives no sense of scale, the tree’s impressive height can be inferred as it was taken in April and the tallest branches are visible before it came into leaf. I really must put more people in my tree pictures for scale and historical context but I often prefer just the tree. The next image shows what can happen to top heavy lapsed pollards in severe weather which unfortunately is a common scene all around Epping Forest. This one is completely hollow and blackened from the Brittle Cinder Fungus (Kretzschmaria deusta). Part of the tree is still alive and may survive for a few years to come, although I’m not sure what it’s life span will be with this fungus inside it.
Beech trees grow in all shapes and sizes but always with shallow roots. I like the shape and balance of this girthy tree below which looks like it has twisted as it has grown. It is scarred with age and has missing branches which tell the story of it’s life.
Twisted Beech tree
The next two are character trees, this first one reminds me of a Chinese Lion Guardian sitting on its haunches like the ones seen guarding restaurants in China town.
The second one below resembles a self-important person with an aloof and pointy turned up nose and a long neck.
Lastly I was attracted to the colours and textures of this decaying trunk which still has a useful role to play in nature as it gradually breaks down and decays back into the earth.