Go back some eight thousand years in the British Isles, and you’d be surprised to find how different it was. For one thing, you’d be hard-pressed to find that many humans. The ones that you would find would be carving out an existence in small communities. They would be farming, as we would be about halfway through the Mesolithic period, and basing their settlements near water, with a handy hillside as a defensive position if need be. They would have domesticated sheep, goats, cows and dogs. Deer would be another food source. They would also be trying to grow crops. However, in this regard, their options were limited. This was because the country was covered, from Lands End to John O’Groats and Durness to Dover, in trees. Oaks, Ash, Beech. Elm. Willow and Pine all were abundant. The early humans who had decided to take the plunge, and leave the caves they were living in, certainly had plenty of wood to use.
We worry about deforestation now, but our ancient ancestors were by far the worst for it. The myth of green living early humans is certainly not true when it comes to tree preservation. How was the country such a lush forest? To understand that, you have to look at the types of trees themselves.
Trees fall into two distinctive types. These are the gymnosperms and angiosperms. The gymnosperms are the ancients. They are the longest-living and hardiest trees. Gymnosperms are trees like the Scot’s Pine, Cedar and Conifer. In other words, any tree that doesn’t shed its leaves in the wintertime.
The other type of tree is the angiosperms. These are the Oak and Ash trees etc., that we first mentioned. They are deciduous trees, which means they shed their leaves in the autumn. They predominate in the British isles but become less common as you travel northwards. How is this the case?
The Angiosperms learnt to spread their seeds via pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies, of which there were many more back then. The gymnosperms used seedlings, such as pine cones, in the hope that an animal would pass them on.
Beneath the ground, the tree’s roots link up, and they feed nutrients to each other and water. They effectively communicate. It’s also why companies like https://www.wilkinson-env.co.uk/drainage-services-cctv-surveys-midlands/cctv-drain-surveys/cctv-drain-surveys-gloucester/ use CCTV Drainage Surveys to check if their roots have penetrated your pipes and drain looking for a water supply.