It never ceases to amaze me where an ancient monkey will pop up. Once again our intrepid explorer – Agent Jeff – has been out and about recording them. His day to day meanderings have stumbled across these two ancient trees.
First this monster.
Jeff spotted this in the grounds of Holme Lacy in Herefordshire. He apologises for the quality of the photos, as he obviously wasn’t actually on monkey puzzle hunting official duty, and took these on his phone. (Note to all monkey puzzle fans, do make sure you have your camera with you at all times*).
*Note, May 2014, Jeff, being very dedicated to his task of hunting monkeys did return to Holme Lacy with his camera and you can see further photographs on this post.
Holme Lacy is a Georgian mansion house. For centuries it was home the Scudamore family, well known Royalists. Various adventures happened to the family and now this building is a hotel. On the hotel’s website, they boast amongst the features of fine dining and a spa, that there is a ‘Monkey Puzzle Tree that’s over 250 years old’. Wow. They don’t go on to give any more information than that, but 250 years seems a bit of an exaggeration to me! The first monkey puzzle trees in this country – according to the well documented story – arrived in 1795 with the plant hunter Archibald Menzies. Which means that the oldest monkey puzzle tree would be 219 years old. Unless there is a tree that somehow made its way to Herefordshire before that?
Anyway, however old this tree is, it’s certainly very old. And very interestingly has kept a lot of its lower branches too.
Jeff has also photographed the base of its trunk, which has become, as you read about in the descriptions of old monkey trees, like an elephant’s foot.
And further north, in Cheshire, Jeff spotted this other very fine specimen.
Cheshire is notorious for its wealth and rich estates. Perhaps this farm was owned by a big house or on their estate?
So well done again to Agent Jeff for his meanderings and always being ready to report back to base with his findings.