…..Or 400 years ago as I found when I lucky enough to spend my weekend at Gwydir Castle in LLanwrst on the edge of Snowdonia. The present castle dates from around 1490, when the original castle was rebuilt following the Wars of The Roses. After decades of careful restoration work by its owners Peter and Judy Welford the castle reverberates with the spirit of the Tudors.
The castle gardens are Grade 1 listed. As the peacocks basked in the sunny knot garden I found it impossible not to imagine all those who have admired the grounds over hundreds of years. From the Tudor ladies collecting herbs to make soap and herbal remedies to the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George and Queen Mary who stayed at the castle in 1899 as guests of the family. The garden’s ancient trees are pivotal to this sense of history and continuity with14 yew trees dating from pre 1700.
However the garden highlight for me was that 12 Cedars of Lebanon were planted in 1625 to commemorate the marriage of Charles I (as he was to become) to Queen Henrietta Maria of France. King Charles is said to have visited the castle in 1645 as a guest of the baronet. So for everyone that planted a tree for the Jubilee (or is yet to do so) maybe this will lead to a royal visit?
We all know that Charles I came to a rather sticky end, however four of the cedar trees planted in his honour remain. These incredible majestic trees (so big I couldn’t get the whole tree into a photograph!) are a living reminder of the timelessness of trees and the contributions that tree planting can make for generations to come.
Victoria Bankes Price, Planning Adviser (and intrepid castle explorer (weekends))