Welcome to the WDVTA
Who are we?
Tree of the Week
Oak, St James Church
The WDVTA was launched in January 2007 to help ensure that veteran and other significant trees in and around the district of Wokingham were properly identified, protected and managed - and to increase public awareness of their importance. Currently we have over 230 members.
The Association supports the Wokingham District Veteran Tree Survey, which aims to map veteran and significant trees in the Wokingham area. Members also organise tree-related talks, walks, visits and other events to which all are welcome.
In 2010 the WDVTA broadened its objectives to include concern for all Wokingham's trees, not just veterans, so the organisation now participates in the Tree Council's Tree Warden Scheme.
In 2012, Wokingham Borough Council invited WDVTA to collaborate with the officers of the Trees and Landscape team to organise the planting of 60 standard English oak trees across the borough to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. This project was successfully completed in the summer of 2013 and our interactive map shows where the trees have been planted.
What is a veteran tree?
WDVTA defines veteran trees as those that have reached full maturity and are showing signs of ageing. The age at which this occurs varies with species so an oak tree, for example, will take many more years to mature than a silver birch. Veterans are characterised by a number of features such as cavities and bark loss, which provide a good habitat for wildlife. One indicator is girth - for example, an oak may grow to over six metres. In our survey of the Wokingham district we look especially for trees with a girth of three metres or more.
Why are veteran trees important?
All trees, but especially veteran trees, are important and beautiful features of our landscape. They give changing colour and interest through the seasons and remind us of our closeness to the natural world, even in built up areas.
Veteran trees are an irreplaceable part of England's landscape and biological heritage. They are of international importance as the UK is host to many more veteran trees than any other Northern European country. A number of these trees are to be found in the district of Wokingham, probably descendants of ancient oaks and other native trees that grew in the original Windsor Forest. Veteran trees such as these may well represent a gene pool that links back to the natural woodland (the 'wildwood') that covered Britain thousands of years ago.
Old trees of all kinds can remind us of the different ways in which our land was used in the more recent past, particularly for agriculture and as gardens, orchards and parkland. They are especially valuable for biodiversity as they can support a rich variety of wildlife, including lichens, mosses, invertebrates and small mammals.
Crack Willow with fox
All activities contribute to meeting the aims of the Association set out in the Constitution and include:
- surveying and compiling a database of Wokingham's veteran trees
- researching and developing surveying tools and techniques to support the database and its presentation
- organising events such as guided walks and training courses and talks on tree-related topics
- working with Wokingham Borough Council on protecting and caring for trees in the borough
- publishing newsletters and information sheets on topics of interest to members
- maintaining a list of commemorative, memorial and other special non-veteran trees
Details of current activities can be found on the Events page and members and non-members of the WDVTA are welcome to attend.
Membership is free. Non-members are invited to complete the application form on the Contact us page.
A quarterly e-publication, Tree Watch, is distributed to members online.