Perhaps one tree is being saved in Knoll Walk

The work by Surrey Heath Borough Council to alter Knoll Walk in Camberley involves, so the council says, removal of all the trees, which they claim have outgrown the location.

Be that as it may, my belief, as expressed HERE earlier, is that one of the mature trees is worthy of saving. Yes it may be large, perhaps in need of judicious pruning, but what other large tree do we have in Camberley town centre.

So, passing by Knoll Walk yesterday, it seems there may be hope for one tree. Let’s hope so.


National Trust’s useful second-hand book barns

I don’t know if all National Trust properties have second-hand book barns, Lytes Cary Manor that we visited recently certainly did.

It was a small book barn. It did, though, have a copy of a booklet I’ve looked out for a while. Know Your Conifers is a Forestry Commission booklet, published in 1966, and now out of print. I found a copy in the book barn, and paid a £1 for it, which was the recommended donation.

While hunting around on the internet, for the online version  of the booklet, I discovered that from today the Forestry Commission is reorganised into Forestry England, and Forest Research, It’s all rather confusing as the Forestry Commission website seems to be unavailable. Anyway, after much trouble I found a PDF of the Know Your Conifers booklet, which I’ve posted below.

I’m sure, dear readers, I’ll not have to explain how to use the feature below.

A handy guide to identifying trees from their buds

How helpful of Discover the Wild to produce a quick guide to tree buds. A perfect handy guide for Spring walks. They say this about their guide,

 …. here is a quick guide to some of the commoner species of tree buds in urban/suburban areas. We will be adding more comprehensive winter twig and bud images of around 60 species to our website in the coming weeks.

They note that the images are not to scale. Even so, it’s good work. I couldn’t find the guide on their website, though it’s on their Facebook page HERE.

A changed treescape

The area in Lightwater where I live is blessed with many mature trees. Many of them are of less common varieties, about which I’ve reported on in my Tree of the Week series.

I really must stop with the whole something of the week series. Tree of the week has reached the magnificent number of three.

There are – now were – three large evergreen specimens not too far from me, about which I’d intended to write about. Two are now been cut down and the other severely pruned.

I’ve not enquired as to why the trees were removed, it could be that they blocked the light to a number of properties. Lovely though the trees were, homeowners must be entitled to remove and or prune the trees. In the years that we’ve lived in Lightwater, these trees have grown substantially. Sadly, I’ve not any photos of them earlier than 2008. I hope the homeowners have plans to replant the area.

Tree of the week No.3: The shapely Jasmine Box

At Bagshot Railway Station there’s a shapely Jasmine Box tree, sometimes also known as evergreen privet whose proper name is Phillyrea latifolia. It’s an uncommon tree in the UK, and so Bagshotians should be pleased to have an easily accessible mature specimen. The tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order. While uncommon it’s sold by nurseries as a shrub, given its slowing growing nature.

It’s a member of the olive family, and was introduced to the UK from the Mediterranean in 1597 by the herbalist John Gerard. It was first planted in gardens belonging to the Earl of Essex. In the formal gardens of the 17th century it was clipped and trimmed by topiarists, though now seems to have, sadly, fallen out of favour.

The tree flourishes in the UK’s wetter climate and fertile soils than in its native Mediterranean habitat. It benefits from a being allowed to grow freely to achieve its wide rounded shape. It’s a robust tree, happy in most soils and in a coastal setting, and is suitable for hedging.


  • A roundly shaped little evergreen tree, growing to 9m [30ft] in the UK.
  • Densely leaved, with leaves that are dark green and glossy on top, with shallow teeth to the leaf edges.
  • The bark is dark grey, and lightly ridged.
  • Small greenish-white flowers appear in May-June.
  • Small round fruits, containing a single seed, turn purple and eventually black.

Other notable specimens in UK [some taken from Architectural Plants tree web page]

  • The Vyne (National Trust), in Hampshire
  • Ickworth House (National Trust), Suffolk
  • By the war memorial in Trumpington south of Cambridge
  • The Washington roundabout on the A24, West Sussex
  • Outside the church in Chideock, Dorset

Images of Jasmine Box at Bagshot Station, Surrey [ click on images to expand]

  • Mature tree
  • Greyish, lightly ridged bark
  • Leaves on tree
  • Close-up of leaves on a twig

Further information sources:

Tree of the week No.1: The majestic Douglas fir

The magnificent Douglas fir is named after Scottish botanist and collector David Douglas, who in 1827 sent the first seed from North America back to Britain. Its botanical name – Pseudotsuga menziesii – commemorates Archibald Menzies, who discovered the tree in 1791.

The seed sent by Douglas came from an area of North America with conditions similar to those in Britain. The tree flourishes in good soils and likes plenty of light. It is found in the southern and western parts of the UK.

The wood is highly regarded. It has good strength properties in tension and compression. It is in high demand for timber construction projects.


  • A tall conical evergreen tree, growing to 55m [180ft] in the UK.
  • The needle-like leaves are flat, soft and flexible, and distributed around the twig. They are green in colour with white-green stripes on the underside.
  • The buds are brown, scaly, and taper to a point.
  • The cone is distinctive; it hangs downwards, and outside every scale there is a three-pointed bract such as is found on no other tree.
  • The bark is at first greyish-black and smooth, and bears resin blisters; later it becomes very thick and deeply fissured, and shows orange-brown tints in the cracks.
  • The male flowers of are clusters of yellow stamens which open in May and soon wither thereafter.
  • The female flowers, borne near the branch tips, look like stout green shoots bearing leafy bracts; they ripen rapidly to brown cones, which start to drop their winged seeds during the following autumn.

Notable specimens in UK

  • Douglas fir in Reelig Glen, near Inverness, Scotland is now Britain’s tallest tree at 217.10ft (66.4m)
  • Douglas fir at Lake Vyrnwy, Powys, Wales is 60.6m (198ft 10in)

Images of Douglas fir in Blackthorn Drive, Lightwater, Surrey

  1. Mature tree
  2. Deeply fissured dark grey to purple tree trunk
  3. Branches with cones hanging down
  4. Close up of leaves with on twig tip
  5. Cones and upper side of leaves on twig
  6. Cones with underside of leaves on twig

Further information sources:

New weekly feature: Tree of the week

I think I told you about my becoming a member of the newly formed charity – Surrey Heath Tree Wardens.

The group is keen on planting new trees, and in assisting the Surrey Heath Green Spaces team and its tree officer with tree maintenance activities. Me, I’m hoping them emulate the Wokingham District Veteran Tree Association. Take a look at their impressive website and how they’ve recorded over 7,000 trees in their area.

To help me identify trees I looked at the Tree Council’s advice on the top books they recommend for tree identification. Number one on their list the Reader’s Digest Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs of Britain. Thinking that I’d not copy of this, now out of print, book, I ordered a second hand copy from a seller on Abe Books.

The book arrived today. Hmm, I thought, that looks familiar. Wouldn’t you know it we already have a copy, and have had it for years and years. What was it that Captain Mainwaring said to Private Pike in Dad’s Army, oh, yes “stupid boy”.

Enough of the jocularity. Each week I’ll present a Tree of the Week, in which I’ll try to make it one that’s in Surrey Heath. The first in the series follows shortly.

Surrey Tree Wardens winter 2017 newsletter released

The establishment, in September this year, of Surrey Heath Tree Wardens has been reported here, see HERE also to learn more. They are members of the independent Surrey Tree Wardens group, which has been in existence since 2002, previously from 1987 till 2002  being funded and run by Surrey County Council.

Here’s the Surrey Tree Wardens Winter 2017 newsletter for your perusal.

Do you want to befriend your favourite local trees?

There’s a new organisation being established in Surrey Heath with the aim of keeping a friendly watch over trees in our borough, through a network of volunteer tree wardens.

Thought a photo of a tree might be useful here, this one is by the club house of Sunningdale golf Club. Click on image to enlarge.

You can find more about this new group on the Surrey Heath Tree Wardens Facebook page. I’m not too knowledgeable about Facebook, so, as it’s a closed group, think you might need to request to join. They’ve also a website HERE.

I received this invitation from Trefor Hogg, one of the founders, to attend their inaugural AGM.

Told it was coming, but sad to see it happen

I read a report, not sure where, that the tree at the corner of Knoll Road and St George’s Road in Camberley had died and would need to be felled.

I passed by today, at midday, to witness tree surgeons felling the tree.

Shame, the tree had been there for many years. Funnily, while it was so prominent I’ve no direct photo of it, other than in the background of the 2008 Freedom Parade.