This survey reports on the freestanding trees in public places and farmland in the parish. With only one or two exceptions no attempt has been made to examine the trees in gardens. By November 2003 the survey was not competed.

The survey identified each tree, noted anything of interest about it and measured its girth at chest height to get an estimate of its age. The formula used for this can be seen by clicking here. In most cases single trees are reported in the database, but where there are several spaced in a line along a road a single database entry will cover them all.

Oak tree in hedge along the parish boundary near the Linear Photo: Peter Allen

Farmland trees.

Until the middle part of the last century there were far more farmland trees in Bingham than at present. Ash, oak and elm trees grew in the hedgerows and air photographs taken in the 1950s show a far greater number of trees for every hundred metres than is now evident. Some were felled when the hedges were grubbed up, but many old, hollowed or split trees either came down naturally or had to be felled. The elm disappeared as a result of disease. Ash is the commonest survivor, followed by oak. Small-leaved elm is struggling to re-establish itself, often from the stumps of felled, diseased trees in the hedgerows. Sycamore trees are rare in hedgerows. In some hedges field maple, wych elm and crab apple have been allowed to grow into trees. Variety has been provided in the last twenty years or so with several species planted along some of the hedgerows. These include horse chestnut, alder, cherry, walnut, silver birch, rowan, lime and beech. The oldest of the hedgerow trees is an English oak on Top Brackendale farm. Its girth is 410cm, suggesting an age of about 215 years.

White willow and crack willow are to found around old ponds in all parts of the parish. Tall Lombardy poplars are usually found near farm buildings. In some cases both poplar and Scots pine occur along hedgerows where there used to be buildings that are now demolished.

Municipal planting

Within the town many of the trees that grew in or around the remaining fields and orchards became either incorporated in gardens or were lost when these spaces were filled with housing. This loss of freestanding trees, however, has probably been made up with municipal plantings along the streets and in other public places largely since the Second World War. Norway maple is the commonest street tree, but whitebeam and Swedish whitebeam are also favoured. Beside these, there is a bewildering variety of trees and shrubs planted in the open spaces in post-1960s housing developments, not all of which have been recorded in this survey.

Uncommon species

Several species have been recorded only once, but this may change when the survey is complete. Among these are the Gingko buloba and Prunus serrula (var.Tibetan Cherry) in the churchyard and the narrow-leaved ash (Fraxinus angustifolia) in the Market Place. Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), mulberry (Morus nigra) and monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) are present in private gardens, but visible from the street, and appear to be the only specimens of those species in Bingham. There are only three recorded specimens of the false acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia). Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) is also very uncommon outside gardens. There are several species of conifer only present either in the cemetery or in the schools.

False acacia growing in Market Place Photo: Peter Allen

Close-up of narrow-leaved ash in Market Place in its full Autum colour. Photo: Peter Allen


The cemetery on The Banks is the nearest thing Bingham has to an arboretum. There are 150 trees and over 40 different species of tree and shrub. The most unusual species planted here including Irish yew, Corsican pine, Bhutan pine, Lawson cypress, Douglas fir and deodar among the older trees. Younger trees range from common types like rowan, lime and cherry to shrubs like cotoneaster, spotted laurel, magnolia, Viburnum sp and various ornamental specimens commonly sold in garden centres nowadays.

The cemetery divides up into three nearly equal parts and, although there has obviously been tree planting at all times since opening, average ages of trees cluster into five quite distinct groups. These closely correlate with the opening of the cemetery in 1888, the end of the First World War, the end of the Second World War, c1970 and post 1985. There are one or two with ages of around 100, which may have been planted to celebrate the start of the twentieth century.

The northern third of the cemetery is the original part and was opened in 1888. Beech, horse chestnut, lime and a single deodar, planted around the periphery at that time survive, as does a single scarlet oak alongside the central path. If these trees are regarded as having been planted in the open they yield an average age of 106. The remainder of the trees in this part of the cemetery show four clear groups of ages if regarded as being partially hemmed in (see the dating method for definitions). The oldest is 82.5 years (an average from 22 datable trees), which just post-dates the end of the First World War. The next is 55.4 (an average of 15 trees), which falls just after the Second World War. The third is 31.5 years, while the fourth consists of several shrubs that are generally 20 years or less.

The middle part of the cemetery, which begins beyond the third of the east-west crossing paths, shows two clusters of ages; one with an average of 33 years; the other of 18.

The southern extension of the cemetery, which was acquired in 1995 was planted shortly after acquisition.

To enter the database and conduct your own searches click here.

Gingko tree growing in the Bingham churchyard Photo: Peter Allen

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