Reading Wild Trees Safari

led by Ted Green and Jill Butler

Ancient trees are part of our landscape, our art, our history. As remnants of the ancient ‘wildwood’, they’re in our very soul – and yet we often mistreat or neglect them. A tree safari day with our great friends, the ebullient, passionate Ted Green and Jill Butler, will ensure you never look at a ‘veteran’ tree the same way again.

Discover how the oak – our iconic British tree - is a universe in itself, supporting hundreds of species. Here at Knepp some of the rarest bracket fungi in Europe and the UK’s rarest beetles have been found on our oaks – an indication of the continuity of Knepp’s tree history.

But what we see is only the tip of the ice-berg. Beneath the soil the roots of the great oak are plugged into a vast symbiotic support-system of mycorrhizal fungi – leading some to question whether we can define the tree as a plant - or is it really a fungus?

Phellinus robustus

Learn how the oak is a pioneer, marching out into open spaces to create wood pasture – a habitat with far greater potential for biodiversity than closed canopy forest, and a mosaic that has provided man with fuel, grazing, shelter and winter fodder for his animals for centuries. Thanks to our old landscape traditions and our isolation from the destruction caused by continental wars we have more surviving parkland and wood pasture in the UK than most countries in Europe, yet these species-rich areas and the great trees that define them are now rapidly on the decline too.

Encounter the dynamics of the wood pasture in action and meet some remarkable trees with a remarkable man - Ted Green.

Walking will be at a gentle pace for about 2 hours in the morning and about 1 ½ hours after lunch, with frequent stops. You’ll need a moderate level of fitness and be able to cope with walking on uneven ground.

Half-way through our safari we’ll stop for a picnic lunch with delicious seasonal produce, all organic or locally-sourced, in a beautiful spot – under an oak, of course – in the heart of the rewilding project.

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Unfortunately we cannot offer a refund or alternative date for your safari booking. We also cannot guarantee the great British weather, or that you will see your target species. Nature is unpredictable! However we’re confident you’ll enjoy your experience with us, come rain or shine, and there’s always plenty of wildlife to see. Our safaris are suitable only for children of 12 and over