Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Woodland Trust urges people to hug trees

Nature fans have been urged to go out and hug trees across Northern Ireland in a Summer of Hugs launched by the Woodland Trust.

It is part of the Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt, which is attempting to find and record 100,000 ancient and notable trees across the UK in five years.

More than 20,000 ancient trees have been found in the first year, but the Trust wants as many people as possible to spend the summer hugging trees to measure their size.

In Northern Ireland, promising hunting grounds include the famous Castlewellan Arboretum, cared for by the Forest Service and reputed to be among the top three arboreta in the British Isles and the finest in Ireland, as well as the 75 hectares of Belvoir Park Forest along the south bank of the Lagan, with history stretching back to the 12th century.

The Trust also suggests checking out the landscaped grounds of Benvarden Garden in Ballymoney, a walled garden in an estate dating back to 1630, or Parkanaur Forest Park, four miles west of Dungannon, which has mixed conifer and broadleaved woodland.

Great oaks that are centuries old can be found in Gosford Forest Park at Markethill in Co Armagh, which offers diverse woodland, parkland and an arboretum, and Florence Court estate in Co Fermanagh is home to the Florence Court Yew, the mother of all Irish yews.

Find out more and record online at ancienttreehunt.org.uk or call 0845 293 5581.

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