Nine Brethren Tree
Lying in the heart of Nocton wood is an ancient coppiced Oak tree that was once a boundary marker separating land belonging to the Lord of the manor and that belonging to the Augustinian Priory. Known locally as the Nine Brethren, the tree has grown into nine separate upright stems giving it a very distinctive appearance.
As part of the woodland management plan for Nocton wood, the Nine Brethren was recently surveyed to ascertain its condition and to identify actions that could be taken to conserve this notable specimen. The surveyors found that whilst parts of the tree are dead, all the stems remain structurally sound meaning that the deadwood can be left in situ to the benefit of the 9 species of bats known to inhabit the woodland.
One major area of concern for the tree however is the condition of its foliage. The canopy of the tree is somewhat sparse with small areas of distal die-back throughout. These signs are generally indicative of some form of general physiological stress. The surveyors identified the cause of the stress as almost certainly being soil compaction in the rooting area around the tree.
In order to relieve compaction in the rooting area a forestry track that runs around the base of the tree has been rerouted. The remaining hardcore base will be carefully removed in stages over several years to ensure the roots are not stressed further by the remedial works. Once areas of the hardcore have been lifted, the cleared areas will be mulched with locally sourced woodchip to encourage organisms to further decompact the ground beneath.