Seven trees are on the shortlist for this year’s Wales Tree of the Year.
They include two street trees in Cardiff a rare Ginkgo tree planted by the famous Japanese Admiral Heihachiro in Pembroke Dock, and a black poplar in Newtown which has the distinction of having moved from one side of the River Severn to the other.
The Woodland Trust’s annual competition is designed to highlight and celebrate the best trees in the country.
In no particular order here they are:
Prisk Wood is an ancient woodland in the care of the Gwent Wildlife Trust and situated on a steep slope above the River Wye in Monmouthshire.
Within this wood stands a pollarded lime tree with a large crown producing many flowers for bees. It is said that limes were favoured in the Wye Valley as there was a rope making factory next to the river.
This sweet chestnut tree situated in Pontypool Park is about 400 years old. There are many other sweet chestnut trees in the park but from an ecological perspective this one is the most interesting as it is hollow and you can walk inside it. The park was owned by the Hanbury family until it was given to the people of Pontypool in the early part of the 20th century.
Cathedral Road is a busy artery into the centre of Cardiff. It is tree lined, but this particular tree stands out as an enormous specimen with a gloriously huge canopy. Every day, it pumps oxygen into the area so city dwellers can breathe more easily. The trunk is massive – far too big for one person to hug.
This tree is a prominent feature of Newtown town centre. The black poplar is one of Britain’s rarest and most endangered native species in uncultivated environments, with fewer than 3,000 in Britain. After great floods in 1960 and 1964, flood prevention works diverted the course of the river so the tree originally on north riverbank is now on the south.
In 1877, the Japanese warship Hiei was built in Pembroke Dock. Lieutenant Togo Heihachiro was studying in the UK and he stayed at the Master Shipwrights House for the commissioning of the Hiei. He donated a Japanese Gingko sapling to be planted in the garden of the house. Togo later became an Admiral and defeated the Russian navy in 1905.
Splott is an urban area of Cardiff with very little green space so, in an effort to bring local people together and celebrate this valuable and beautiful tree, a small group of residents organised a Tree Party. They weren’t sure if anyone would come but on the day people kept coming and coming, bringing cake to share and plants to swap, hula hooping in the street and getting to know each other despite the pouring rain!
An ancient oak standing in the car park of the Cefn Mably Arms, Michaelston-y-Fedw, West of Newport. The building dates from circa 1550 and was originally a farm house. It became a public house in the mid 19th century. The oak tree is probably one of the oldest in Wales. Some say that it was planted in the year after the building was completed which would make it over 460 years old. Others have estimated its age at closer to 800 years old. Judging by its girth, the second figure is likely to be more accurate.