The Ancient Tree Hunt, run by The Woodland Trust, aims to produce the first complete gazetteer of Britain’s largest, oldest and most impressive trees.

It intends to catalogue no fewer than 100,000 by 2001 and is asking members of the public to help.

How to spot an ancient tree

There are no precise definitions: essentially it’s a tree that is old and large but not necessarily tall but of ample girth (trees shrink as they become ancient).

Here is the ‘hug method’ for ageing trees:

Oak — 3 adult hugs

Beech — 2 adult hugs

Scots Pine — 1 adult hug

Rowan — 1 adult hug

Birch — a wrist hugh (wrist to wrist)

Hawthorn — an elbow hug

Cedar of Lebanon — 2 hugs

However, age should be considered as different species live for varying numbers of years. Visit the Ancient Tree Hunt website

* Look out for this Thursday’s issue (January 24) for the full story.