The Ancient Tree Forum, who work with the Woodland Trust towards securing a future for ancient trees, hold regular field meetings throughout the year. The latest event was in and around Wrexham. Ancient trees were visited in a very wide range of situations in an action packed day.
It’s not often that in one event the Forum looks at and discusses trees on an industrial estate, farmland, in an urban park, a private garden and an Historic Park and Garden. Most of the trees were ancient or veteran oaks but during the day a very special ginko tree (Ginko biloba) was spotted which later turned out to be the third largest by girth in Wales, the sixth largest in the UK and the most northerly of the county champions. It’s thanks to the Ancient Tree Hunt (ATH) database that we can so easily start to compare ‘finds’ and explore the distribution of native and exotic trees. The tree is recorded on the ATH database and there is a picture of it, but as it is on a private estate permission is required to go and look at it.
The focus of the day was to look at how valuable trees are protected, if at all, and to talk about the Forum and Woodland Trust’s joint campaign to improve the lot of the exceptional tree heritage that exists in Wales. The Welsh Assembly is proposing a new organisation – an Environment Agency, and when that is implemented we believe it should have a new duty to care for ancient, veteran and other heritage trees of great value. The Environmental Body should provide advice, support and where appropriate grants to their owners so there are positive incentives for landowners to take good care of their ancient trees.
It is vital that owners of trees are inspired to take care of them whether they are private householders with a massive oak in the garden such as the Broad Oak near Acton Park; farmers with historic pollards in old hedgerows; estate managers or local authority park staff.
Jill Butler, Conservation Adviser (Ancient Trees)