ONE of Britain's oldest trees, a small-leaved lime at the Forestry Commission's National Arboretum at Westonbirt, will be cut back this week as part of a tree management cycle dating back centuries.
A mix of traditional and modern techniques will be used to coppice – cut back to stumps – around 60 lime stems that have grown from an original tree thought to be over a thousand years old.
DNA tests carried out on this tree in the 1990s showed the clump originates from a single tree.
Experts agreed the size of the clump and its pattern of growth meant the lime is certainly ancient, and could even be up to 2,000 years old.
Mark Ballard, of Westonbirt, said: "Cutting back the lime stems encourages new growth and keeps the tree healthy.
"It is what has kept this original lime alive for so many centuries."