'Conserving wildlife and ancient landscape'


Registered Charity Number: 702488 



The RELIC Team (so far...)

Bob Hares - Royal Horticultural Advisor, Pershore college
John Clarke - Conservation Advisor, Kemerton Conservation Trust
John Farmer - Nursery Manager at Pershore College
Jim Verrechia - Data management and IT support


Welcome to RELIC...

This web page is devoted to Replanting Elms In the Countryside - the 'RELIC' project.

In the 1970s Dutch elm disease swept through the British countryside, killing the majority of elms, many of which were centuries old. More than 20 million trees are known to have been affected by the disease, which is carried by a bark beetle.

Our first newsletter can be accessed directly from here.

Why we are here...

A few years ago an elm was discovered near Pershore that appeared to be immune to Dutch elm disease. Following the discovery of the elm, John Clarke from Kemerton Conservation Trust and Bob Hares, Royal Horticultural Society advisor to Pershore college, successfully took cuttings. In February this year the first saplings were planted at King George's Field, Pershore.

The project was subsequently televised by the BBC news programme - 'Midlands Today' early in March 2008.  The programme asked anyone who thought they might know the whereabouts of a disease-resistant elm to contact Kemerton Conservation Trust via their website. The four reports that were broadcast produced an overwhelming response from the public, with reports of disease-resistant elms being found in over 15 counties.

What we are doing...

One of the first tasks that the project faced was to produce a framework that would allow the team to manage the project effectively. The main requirements of the framework are to:

  • Record and maintain key data received from the public and other sources identifying potential elms

  • To encourage a network of RELIC groups within counties, taking in groups who have already carried out research and grown some young trees, groups who could take local cuttings to grow on so that locally sourced plants are available. (Local, district and regional councils, wildlife trusts, farmers' groups, horticultural colleges and growers would be welcomed as partners)

  • Co-ordinate with local 'knowledgeable experts'  who will validate sightings

  • Raise funds to encourage project continuity without unnecessary hardship

  • Encourage local support for the project, whereby cuttings taken can be grown-on and planted by local councils, volunteers and possibly commercial growers

  • Finally, record where young trees are planted so that they can be monitored as they are re-introduced into the countryside (it will not be possible to determine if the young trees are disease-resistant until they are approx 15-30 years old)

A database has been developed to capture the information received and will be used as the tool to allow the above requirements to be managed effectively.

The future...

Due to lack of support and funding the project is currently on hold. We hope that anyone interested in the project will re-visit this mini-website. As and when the project evolves we hope to provide more information. 

It is hoped that we will present our results on the website. All data will be de-personalised to safeguard and protect both trees and contributors.

On behalf of the team we thank you for your support...