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The age of old trees can be estimated by measuring their circumference (girth), and applying a small calculation.

Different trees grow at different rates, and the calculation gives an approximate age only.

Using a tape measure or ruler, measure 1.5 metres from the ground.

Then from this point, measure the girth (circumference) of the tree in centimetres.

Trees grow at different speeds with the circumference increasing at an average of 2.5cm a year. The figures below show the rate at which different trees grow:

- Holly, Yew: 1.25cm / year

- Oak: 1.88cm / year

- Ash, Beech, Elm, Hazel: 2.5cm / year

- Sycamore: 2.75cm / year

- Pine, Spruce: 3.13cm / year

Use these figures to calculate the age of your chosen trees:

- Divide the circumference by the growth rate for your tree. A calculator may help!

For example, if your chosen tree is an oak tree that measures 110cm, you would need to do the following sum: 110 / 1.88 = 58.5 years (approximate!)

An oak tree would need a girth of about 900cm (9 metres) to have dated from the time of Henry VIII - (900 / 1.88 = 480 years: c1530).

20220402 Oak at West Lodge (Custom)

The magnificent oak tree near West Lodge, Littlecote.
Girth of 765cm in March 2022 - maybe dating from 1615.


Two ancient oak trees can be found at the north eastern edge of Kintbury Down on the common.

  • One is near the corner of the eastern boundary fence and the railway. Its girth (1.5 metres above ground level) measures (in June 2023) 445 cms. Applying the well accepted formula for aging oak trees of 1.88cm per year, this suggests an age of about 236 years, so dating from perhaps 1787 (George III).
  • The other oak tree, a little further south, and right on the boundary fence, measures 504 cms, giving an approximate age of 268 years, so dating from perhaps 1755 (Maybe George II).

They are surely further examples of boundary trees.

20230604 09.47.09 (Medium)

20230604 09.47.54 (Medium)

20230604 09.53.59 (Medium)