Trees make up a significant component of the landscape of Lewes, which has a high proportion of woodland cover.
Partly as a result of the varied geology across Lewes Borough there are many soil types – from chalky downland loams to alluvial silt in the river valley which supports a wide variety of tree and shrub species. As well as the wide variety of shapes we may also enjoy blossoming trees in spring, their autumn colours and many beautiful bark textures. Some of the most significant trees in the town are now being mapped as part of an “Urban Arboretum” initiative and residents and visitors are invited to contribute images and stories about their favourite trees.
Historic trees and new arrivals
Some of the most significant trees in Lewes are notable for their age, some dating back centuries to previous generations of tree-planters for which we should be most grateful. New tree planting to replace losses from old age, development, storms, or floods has been the mission of many Lewes residents, in their gardens, or supported by local councils, donations and many committed hands-on volunteers such as Friends of Lewes Tree Group.
Trees care for us
Trees not only provide a pleasant backdrop to the town, but provide useful “ecosystem services” that we shouldn’t take for granted. Some of these can be demonstrated along the “Tingle’s Way route across the town.
Examples on Tingle’s way
• Trees are valuable wildlife habitats (whether young or old). Trees support wildlife, particularly insects and birds, but the contribution made by leaf fall, and even decaying trees, supports essential soil processes needed to retain a healthy soil environment capable of resisting environmental changes.
• Trees absorb Carbon dioxide, so help to “mop-up” some of the fossil-fuel emission causing climate change. Using things made from timber rather than man-made alternatives, such as plastic, helps to lock-up carbon long-term and substitutes for non-renewable alternatives.
• Trees also absorb local pollution, particulates and even noise, so make a valuable screen near roads to help overcome the negative impact of traffic.