Imagine that you are like Nerys Jones who is lucky enough to own or manage an ancient tree. Nerys is the proud owner of the Rhandirmwyn oak, Carmarthenshire, a majestic hollow tree that must be many hundreds of years old. She says: “My husband and I are guardians of our tree. Our names may be on the deeds, but the tree will long outlive us. It’s our duty to look after what’s been put on this earth for future generations. We may have bought the property but that doesn’t make us experts. Advice and care for tree like this doesn’t come cheap, so some help would be very welcome, were it needed.”
Growing awareness of the significance of ancient trees in Wales coincides with an amazing opportunity for the Welsh Assembly to use its new powers and its decision to create a new single environmental body to properly protect these trees and lead the way in the UK. For some owners advice and funding to help with management would be an added incentive to encourage them to proactively care for their tree or trees.
Wales ancient trees maybe many hundreds if not thousands of years old; some of the oldest natural features of the landscape. Many will be older that the oldest buildings and man made features in Wales and yet unlike the built heritage, they do not yet receive the same protection and grant support. The Woodland Trust in partnership with other key organisations such as the Tree Council, Ancient Tree Forum and the National Trust for Wales are calling on the soon-to-be-created single environment body to be given the duty to promote the conservation of these “markers of time, guardians of biodiversity, repositories of history or subjects of folklore”.
The Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) is also calling on the Welsh Government to strengthen the Tree Preservation Order legislation because it fears many treasured trees could be felled without a thought. There have been a number of occasions in recent years when important trees have been felled unnecessarily in Wales, which might have been saved if the changes the Trust is calling for had been in place.
The Trust is proposing fairly minor but vital changes to make the Tree Preservation Order system fully fit for purpose. We believe the changes would address the key weaknesses of the present system and would thus significantly improve the protection Wales’ ancient trees in particular. Read the detailed proposals here.
If you live in Wales why not take action to help show the Welsh Assembly that you support this idea to help ancient and veteran trees. Coed Cadw is collecting signatures for a petition. Please sign up online now at: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/saveourtrees
Jill Butler, Conservation Adviser (Ancient Trees)