UK’s best climbing tree discovered – a 150-year-old oak standing 12 metres tall

Woodland experts find the UK’s best tree for climbing

A 150-year-old oak – newly named Mr Silly Arms – has been named the UK’s perfect climbing tree. The tree, in Owlet Wood, Lincolnshire, stands at 12 metres tall, with a reach of more than eight metres around, and has a selection of low-hanging branches.

But experts are most enthused about its ease of access – a low branch acting as a bridge for even the most inexperienced tree climbers to start making their way up.

The search for the UK’s perfect climbing tree involved site managers from The Woodland Trust inspecting more than 10,000 trees across British forests and parklands.

A shortlist was then judged using specific criteria, such as how easy the low-hanging branches are for offering an easy foot up, durability of the branches, and ensuring the tree wasn’t home to rare wildlife.

The tree was found by HARIBO, in partnership with The Woodland Trust, to help adults feel confident in making a childlike choice and rediscovering the fun to be had in nature.

It comes after research of 2,000 adults found 36 percent miss climbing trees from when they were younger, and 61 percent still get the urge to when they are out in nature today.

It also emerged that between the ages of eight and 12 was considered to be the time that youngsters found nature the most magical.

Tree expert Scott Fraser, who worked with James Jesson from the Woodland Trust to find the top climbing tree, said: “If you told my 10-year-old self I was going to climb trees for a living, I would have just thought that was amazing.

“There’s something magical about nature and climbing trees that children innately understand – but as you get older, most people tend to lose that ability. Life simply gets in the way.

“I’ve been lucky enough to stay connected to my inner child, carrying on my love affair with tree climbing, and turning that passion into a career as an arborist.

“I’ve never stopped seeing nature as a place for fun. That’s why I wanted to inspire other grownups to reconnect to their inner child, and make them feel comfortable making a child-like choice. You’re never too old to have fun, especially in nature.”

James Jesson added: “We become self-conscious, and worried about what people think – we start walking, instead of adventuring.

“Climbing a tree gives you a different perspective of a woodland – which is a definite advantage.

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“We were really excited to find this tree, it’s got everything. It’s safe and accessible, it’s an oak tree so you’ve got that strength in it.”

The study also found 48 percent of adults said being up a tree formed the core of their best childhood memories – and 41 percent had a favourite tree for climbing when they were kids.

Seven in ten also admit they miss the childhood days when they could feel confident in running around and simply enjoy being outdoors, according to the stats by OnePoll.

And while 57 percent never climb trees now, those who do say it makes them feel happy (46 percent), active (39 percent), and close to nature (34 percent).

Phil Murphy, for HARIBO, said: “When kids see fun, they don’t question it. But grown-ups lose that ability along the way to adulthood, and can be quick to overlook the fun to be had outdoors.

“We’re excited to be partnering with the Woodland Trust to identify the UK’s best climbing tree, to encourage adults and children alike to rediscover the fun to be had in nature.”

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