Calke Abbey's parkland

A tree in the parkland at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

A visit to Calke Abbey in Derbyshire is a rare opportunity to see an historic landscape which has been incorporated into a parkland. Some of the trees date back to the time well before the original Abbey was built in the 12th century.

The ‘Old Man of Calke’ is estimated to be 1200 years old and nearby is another young oak, a mere 900 years old. Trees like these are remnants of ancient wood pastures, areas of grassland scattered with old open grown pollarded trees which supplied firewood, winter fodder for stock and material for an array of tools.
If you explore the parkland you might find one of the very best ‘walking trees’. It’s an ancient small leafed lime that has a gigantic low branch that’s been pulled down to the ground by gravity at which point it has put down new roots and formed a new 20 year old tree. 
On another side of the mother tree there’s a massive cavity the same shape and size as the other limb. Another 40 year old lime tree is nearby. On its lower trunk is a belly button where the umbilical cord connected it to its mother. Over time the connecting limb has died and decayed, letting go of its young offspring. In this way this lime tree is slowly walking across the landscape.