• Cranborne Chase AONB Office, Rushmore Farm, Tinkley Bottom, Tollard Royal, Wiltshire, SP5 5QA  Tel: 01725 517417


Oct 4, 2017
Springhead Trust raises awareness of the remarkable ash


aHSSRINGHEAD Trust’s AshScape Project conference, which takes place next week (10-15 October), boasts a vast array of fascinating speakers who will take audiences on a journey of discovery about the ash tree.

Their aim is to raise awareness of the remarkable roles these trees have played in the development of European society since the Bronze Age, and the likely effects of an ash ‘Armageddon’ in which around 90% of Europe’s ash trees could perish as the result of the spreading fungal infection, Chalara, ash dieback disease.

The Springhead AshScape Project, organised in collaboration with Cranborne Chase AONB, the Ancient Tree Forum and the Woodland Trust, is being partly funded through the AONB’s Sustainable Development Fund. It will be the only conference of its kind in the UK this year.

The project commences with an ash themed photographic and art exhibition (Tuesday 10 October), with a two-day conference taking place on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 October. Speakers include Vikki Bengtsson, who will speak about the effects of ash dieback in Scandinavia, Buglife’s Dr Sarah Henshall, who will discuss the effects of ash dieback on dependent species, Edward Parker, whose talk will be entitled ‘Ash trees uses and myths from Bronze Age until today’, and Tim Rowlands, who will reveal the progress on breeding genetic resistant ash trees.

The full programme is as follows:

Friday 13 October

10.30am - 4pm  Talks on the mythology and utility of ash, the effect of ash dieback in hedgerows, a Scandinavian perspective on ash tree loss, the Kent AONB ash art and public awareness project and the collection of genetic material in the search for dieback-resistant strains of European ash.
Saturday 14 October

10.30am - 4pm    Talks on the mythology of the ash by a storyteller, on ash dieback resistance, plant and invertebrate species affected by ash dieback, and the medicinal importance of ash trees and their possible future role in the treatment of Parkinson’s and obesity.

Sunday 15 October

11am - 5pm Springhead Open Garden and Grand Musical Finale (three performances)

Visitors can explore the gardens and attend Heartwood, an outdoor choral processional work, composed by Karen Wimhurst, based on the Norse Tree of Life Yggdrasil. Three performances will be staged between 11am-3pm. In addition, Professor Adrian Newton of Bournemouth University will offer visitors the chance to don headphones and listen to the internal workings (the heartbeat) of a living veteran ash tree that will be ‘wired for sound’.

Additionally, there will be a field trip to view ash trees at Lyscombe and Highdon SSSI in Dorset AONB and the opportunity to take part in an innovative tree recording project using a single iPhone in Cranborne Chase AONB. This project will continue after the events at Springhead.

“The human race’s relationship with the ash goes back at least to Ancient Greece and its uses in transport, farming and medicine are well documented. We want to take a very close look at this tree before it is too late,” said Edward Parker, an authority on trees who has also written several books. “During our celebration we will be looking at what will replace the ash tree and what choices we have when managing ash woodlands, among myriad other things. It’s a complex picture, which is why we need to come together to discuss what will happen.”

For more information on the Springhead AshScape Project and to book tickets, log on to http://www.springheadtrust.org.uk.