The Veteran trees and Ancient Hybrid Rhododendron Guided Walk.


Childwall Woods has more veteran trees than any other site in Merseyside, often unnoticed amongst the sea of green, but not when 20 tree enthusiasts are strolling around on a bright sunny day.

The ancient hollow Hybrid Rhododendrons are easy to miss, that is until they bloom, and ‘Cynthia’ certainly put on her Sunday best for us on our walk.

Rh. Cynthia, was introduced into Britain in 1906.

You may often see volunteers pulling up invasive rhododendrons, on our site, but those are Rh ponticum, that would spread throughout the woods taking over every inch until all of our woodland flowers become smothered.

The hybrid Rhododendrons do not spread, but grow tall and bloom each year as they have done for the past century. Five different species are left to catch our eye and make us smile.

FFP. A bloom within a bloom

With 24 veteran trees to choose from it was difficult to decide which ones to visit. In the end, our largest tree, a stunning Sweet Chestnut was the star of the show after we had marvelled at the height and girth of a four-and-a-half metre beech. The largest beech in our woods and one of our oldest at roughly 300 years old. Hollowing now, so almost ancient.

We were distracted by rare fungus-eating flies and therapeutic fungi, but we managed to marvel at the holes, fissures and ancient characteristics of 15 veteran trees and a Lancashire Champion.

Thanks to Andy Scott, who is also a verifier for the Ancient Tree Inventory, for showing us his favourite trees along the route.

If you love our old trees but didn’t manage to join us for the guided walk, don’t worry, they’re all still there.  If you know where to look.

Visit     Veteran Trees | Friends of Childwall Woods and Fields (

Thanks to:

Isabelle Hurdle   My PA and Photos

Andy Scott         For assisting

Paul Johnson      For photos

Andrew Weighill, David Howatson, John McCombs and David Holland for their support.

Author: B Cameron

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