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            It is worth pausing at this stage just to take in the significance of the dates. The emergence of the English Channel was possibly completed as little as seven thousand years ago; the dinosaurs were around about 300 million years ago, and the Romans conquered just two thousand years ago. These dates are really nothing in geographical terms and are not really very much in human terms.

                Of course new trees from abroad have been introduced since, by humans. The Romans, it is thought, introduced the sweet chestnut. In Tudor and Elizabethan times, when there was a fashion for having large gardens in country houses other varieties of trees were brought over from abroad. The sycamore is an example. The real influx began though once the world expanded when the great naval explorers, like Christopher Columbus, returned from their tours, bringing with them examples of trees from other continents. Another big influx was during the eighteenth century when there was a craze for landscape gardening led by the garden designer Capability Brown. This coincided with an increase in trade with the far east and the tropics and more trees coming in from there.

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Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©