I have previously mentioned in my blog how with ancient trees I am sometimes happy to leave them to do there thing and if they are going to fall over then so be it. But with this tree I was swayed the other way due to how interesting the trees is, especially the huge circumference of the base. And with it being completely hollow with only about 3 inches of sound wood all the way around, which far exceeds what a tree can tolerate with a full crown (usually about 70%) some remedial work was definitely needed to increase the trees chances of survival.
The tree had in fact been picked out by English heritage as a tree worth saving and preserving, and whilst the works may seem quite harsh, it will in the long run benefit the tree due to the reduced weight and sail area of the crown enabling it to withstand the storms we are frequently battered with! Also with the loss of some of the trees leaf area it will hopefully put on alot more new growth in response hopefully rejuvenating the tree and giving it a few more years.
I went slightly higher than the original specification for the job as I tried to balance the requirement of reducing the weight, with cutting to growing points and leaving the tree as 'natural' looking as possible. With a couple of years worth of new growth the works will not seem as obvious and the tree will begin to self optimise and reform a new crown without the excessive weight risking the stability of the base
I plan on coming back in the summer to take some photos when its in full leaf and if i can remember maybe some more a couple of years time to see how the tree progresses.