Wood pasture or parkland are vegetation structures rather than particular plant communities. They are matrices of grassland, heathland and/or woodland habitats which contains large open-grown or high forest trees (often pollards) at various densities (following the UK BAP definition and Defra’s T03 definition for parkland and wood pasture)*.
Veteran trees are in-field, boundary or woodland trees which are over mature and with evidence of decay, often having been kept alive through management such as pollarding. It is not possible to use size precisely as a guide to maturity for individual species, because diameter or circumference depends on a number of other factors, including soil type and past and present competition. However a rule of thumb has been developed and is presented in the table below. Veteran trees also contain some or all of the following features:
In-field trees of this nature often indicate the presence of former wood pasture or parkland
Veteran Tree Rule Of Thumb Trunk Diameters
These ‘rules of thumb’ collate the maximum trunk sizes recorded by Mitchell (1974) for each species and adapting categories of ‘potentially interesting’, ‘valuable’ and ‘truly ancient’ described by Read (2000) to relate to these maximum trunk sizes.
Identification & Mapping
For the purposes of monitoring, a Veteran Tree will be defined as any tree in the ‘valuable’ or ‘truly ancient’ columns in the table above.
It is obviously important for recruitment to also monitor trees in age classes below. Whichever monitoring methodology is adopted for this target, data on species and diameter at breast height should be recorded for all trees in the sample which fall into the ‘potentially interesting’ column or above.
Parkland will be defined and mapped through the Durham County Council’s Historic Landscape Character Assessment.
There is insufficient understanding of Wood Pasture in the Durham context at present to allow a definition.
Any Parkland which is covered by funding from Environmental Stewardship or a Woodland Grant Scheme will be assumed to be in favourable condition, until such time as further work is undertaken to determine a more appropriate condition assessment. See Defra’s condition assessment in the T03 definition of wood pasture & parkland for further guidance.*
Any Wood Pasture (once defined) which is covered by funding from Environmental Stewardship or a Woodland Grant Scheme will be assumed to be in favourable condition, until such time as further work is undertaken to determine a more appropriate condition assessment. See Defra’s condition assessment in the T03 definition of wood pasture & parkland for further guidance.**
*DEFRA (2005) Higher Level Stewardship: Farm Environment Plan – Guidance handbook. www.defra.gov.uk
** DEFRA (2007) Hedgerow Survey Handbook – A standard procedure for local surveys in the UK. Prepared on behalf of the Steering Group for the UK. DEFRA, London.