THE RYEDALE SWEET CHESTNUT
Working in the Lake District since 1995, Edward led the woodland initiative Cumbria Woodlands for 18 years, helping woodland owners manage their woodlands better, including managing the transition of over 500 ha of designated woodland into recovering condition, and completing a project to restore many of Cumbria's Planted Ancient Woodland sites. With all this experience, Edward has probably been in more Cumbrian woodlands than any other person. So why nominate this particular tree?
‘I could’ve nominated 50 trees easily, but this one had to be represented!’ says Edward.
On approaching the tree, it’s easy to see why. This magnificent Sweet Chestnut tree dominates its corner of Rydal Hall gardens, with a knobbly, twisting trunk which dwarfs its many admirers.
Edward’s enthusiasm and excitement as we stand beneath the huge, heavy branches is contagious. With over 30 years experience and responsibility of enhancing pockets of Cumbrian landscape, it is refreshing to sense his enduring connection with trees and the natural ability he has to share his knowledge and experience.
Edward estimates that the tree is 600 years old, certainly the oldest and largest Sweet Chestnut in Cumbria, planted before the present hall was built. Rydal Hall is set on a large estate boasting 34 acres of woodland with a free flowing beck which produces the majestic Rydal waterfalls, made famous by William Wordsworth who lived opposite the hall at Rydal Mount. Could it be possible that Wordsworth sat beneath the Sweet Chestnut to write his famous poems?
The Ryedale Sweet Chestnut intones reverence, its size is remarkable and its location historic. If you want to visit a tree that takes your breath away, this is it!
Find the treeRydal Hall is located off the A591 between Grasmere and Ambleside. Limited parking can be found on the lane leading up to the hall. Walk past the Old School Room Tea shop and over the bridge. Take a left, up the hill as you reach a yurt. The tree can be seen on your right. Entry to the grounds and gardens is free, with a suggested donation of £3.
Please note: This tree is on land with permissive access.