What was reputed to be Britain’s oldest oak has been felled by a gale this month from a position it had held in Chirk, near Wrexham, for at least 1,200 years.
The tree was the subject of conservationists’ concern over a period of months and repeated calls were made to provide support for the oak, so that future generations may continue to preserve it. The reputed £5,700 cost was considered too high, however, and the tree has now sadly come to the end of its life – left to the mercy of 55mph winds.
The loss is all the more pertinent due to the rich history surrounding the tree, whose sizeable trunk could reputedly seat up to six people. Under its branches in 1157, Welsh Prince Owain Gwynedd rallied his army to defeat Henry II at the battle of Crogen and when, in 1165, the very same Henry II cut down the surrounding woods from which he had been ambushed 8 years before, the tree was, according to legend, spared.
The Woodland Trust rue the inadequate protection afforded to Britain’s old trees, adviser Jill Butler commenting:
“This venerable old tree has had a lot to cope with over the past few weeks, with heavy snow, a prolonged cold snap and finally high winds.
“But the Woodland trust believes that this sad case illustrates how we are failing to provide adequate protection for our ancient trees at present.”
This begs the question – where is Britain’s oldest oak now? Do please email us and let us know if you believe an oak near you now holds this venerable title.