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Was it raining at the time you saw this? I see this type of thing alot when it's raining. The water running down the bark produces bubbles that accumulate in certain points on the trunk.
this was in the morning with no rain but it had rained the night before so likely to be this i was just intrigued by it, couldn't see anything like it on any other trees.
Agree this is result of natural saphonic/soap-like compounds.
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Lat/Lng: 51.0628, -0.7395
OS grid ref: SU884300