On 17th October (2014) I took a stroll along the bank of the Dorset Stour between Bryanston School and Blandford Forum where on a hillside from the higher plateau to the river grows a rather large and interesting deciduous forest. Rather unusually there are many ancient Yew trees growing here, but a few hundred yards south of the school church along a path below this slope three enormous London Plane trees grow, much taller and larger than the other trees around them. These three trees are believed to have been planted in 1749 and are known to be the tallest plane trees and even the tallest broadleaved trees of the UK. In 2010 the three planes were climbed and measured with direct tape drop. The heights were: 48.56 m for the central tree, 46.79 m for the southern tree and 44.86 for the northern tree. What is more they are also the tallest accurate measured planes of Europe and among the tallest broad-leaf trees in Europe, except for the very exotic Eucalypts in Portugal and Spain. This is indeed quite a claim to fame.

However, not mentioned amongst these impressive statistics is the fact that the tallest of these, and a couple more much smaller examples, is host to Rigidoporous ulmarius which although not that uncommon I have not seen it on London Plane before.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.

Mark Pike