• Saltram's special sycamore

    Back on the 5th of the month I was down at Saltram House near Plymouth to give a talk at the SW Tree Wardens Forum and, arriving early, took the opportunity to check out some of the trees in the surrounding parkland. The last time I was at Saltram was about 12 years ago & I remember being astounded by this truly remarkable sycamore then. Happily it's still in pretty good shape, although it appears to have lost one trunk since I was last there. Sitting, as it does, in the middle of the park I wondered how it has taken on this form. Most obviously one would have expected it to have been laid into part of a long disappeared hedgerow, or perhaps one bough may have fallen when it was a relatively young tree, taken root, and simply thrown up a new row of trunks. Then I began to remember some of the big old western red cedars that I've seen in several old parks up & down the land. In Victorian times, when these were planted, a popular park or garden feature was created by pegging down some of the lower boughs, thus creating rather convenient arboreal seating for those perambulating through the park. Could this sycamore be such a feature? I guess we'll never know, but it takes nothing away from what has become quite a remarkable tree.

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