A close-up on the fascinating whorls and twists at the base of an ancient sweet chestnut trunk.
When I first started this tree project, I knew that it could be huge, and so I set a limit on it. I would only consider trees that were native to the British Isles.
Sweet chestnut isn’t native.
But it is naturalised (which means that it behaves like a native – it will set seed and grow without human intervention) and it has been here for a long time, having been brought over from mainland Europe by the Romans. It’s also a rather useful tree, with edible nuts (delicious when roasted), and a very lovely tree to look at, with distinctive red bark and an intriguing twist to its trunk.
And when it gets really old, like this tree (400 years old or more), it is likely to be very large and very gnarled.