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The woodlands in Beckenham Place Park are designated as Ancient Woodland which means they can be traced back to 1600.  That doesn't mean all the trees are 400  years old but some may be.  Unfortunately old trees get less attention than 'new planting' does. If old trees are managed properly then their life span can be extended. Many trees in the park were lost in storms, the most recent serious storm was in 1989 and  several trees can be found laying down with new growth rising perpendicular to the fallen trunk. Several trees have been lost to high winds since then. If we look at the largest tree in the centre of the first picture, that tree fell down in 2020 after it was pointed out that the branch to the right in the picture was overbalancing the tree. Perhaps if the branch was lopped off then the tree might have survived. Some trees are threatened with diseases  such as oak processionary moth, sudden oak death etc. which can be fungal diseases. Most oak trees in the park are pedunculate oak trees with some red oak, turkey oak and holm oak.  The Woodland Trust Ancient Tree website has recorded trees shown on a map. There are several large sweet chestnut trees which are survivors from when the woodland was managed and coppiced.  Sycamore, Ash, Holly, Wild Service, Hawthorn, Elder, and Elm are also present.  Elm is a tree which suffered from disease, Dutch Elm disease killed many large specimens and now it is common for elm to grow to about 20 years and then succumb to the disease which is carried by a wood boring beetle. Of course many insects are beneficial to trees by pollinating their flowers and helping them grow seed.

Some of the larger trees may have been part of old field boundaries or even the boundary between the old manors of Beckenham and Foxgrove.

The Woodland Trust have produced a ready reckoner for oak tree age estimation and this assumes that a tree of 4 metres in girth is about 200 years old.  When  a large Turkey Oak fell in 2011 the rings counted  numbered 230 and that wasn't the main trunk so the tree could have been older indicating that the tree was planted  during the lifetime of John Cator and possibly from plants provided by his father in law Peter Collinson. Coppiced trees are more difficult to age as the upper growth is cut down several times and the roots are the oldest part of the tree. Several trees in the park were coppiced or pollarded during their lifetimes. Pollarded trees have very stout  lower trunks and thinner upper branches which have regrown after the upper branches were lopped off.

Pedunculate Oak near the mansion

Pollarded Oak by the ancient pond