Image from the Woodland Trust
We didn't make it up: there is an official measurement called the British Standard Hug. It is a way to measure the girth of tree trunks and each "hug" is 1.5 metres. This measurement is officially recognised and used by the Woodland Trust as an easy way to measure the age of trees, because a fat girth is one of several indicators of age.
To mark the launch of the upcoming Winter Tree Hunting season, a pattern for this good-looking scarf has been created; and it's exactly 1.5 metres long. So you can use it to keep warm and hug and record ancient trees at the same time this winter.
The original and stylish scarf patterns have been designed by an Irish art student who loves traditional crafts. The stripey one is for the beginners while the leafy one is for the more accomplished knitters. Either one would be a lovely treat for a treehugging friend.
The Ancient Tree Hunt is a five-year project led by the Woodland Trust, which is recording every ancient tree in Britain. So far they have logged 38,000 ancient trees through the work of ecologists and ordinary members of the public.
Ancient trees are defined as those that are unusually old for their species. So an oak tree that is 600 years old is classified as ancient and a beech that is over 300 years old is also called ancient. Birches, even more short lived, are old at two centuries. A hug is based on the finger tip to finger tip measurement of an adult, which is about 1.5m.
How many hugs make a tree ancient?
Oak - 3 scarves/4.5m
Beech - 2 scarves/3m
Scots Pine - 2 scarves/3m
Rowan - 1 scarf/1.5m
Birch - 1 scarf/1.5m
Hawthorn - 1 scarf/1.5m
Field maple - 1 scarf/1.5m
Sweet chestnut - 4 scarves/6m
Ash - 2 scarves/3m