Tayside and Central Scotland

Work begins to save 'Macbeth trees' near Dunkeld

Birnam Image copyright Euan Nelson/Geograph
Image caption The Birnam Oak is at risk of splitting in two

Work has begun to safeguard two ancient trees thought to be from the forest immortalised in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Tree surgeons warned The Birnam Oak could split in two because its trunk is rotten but its heavy branches are still growing and pulling it apart.

Branches will be shortened to reduce the strain on the tree trunks, with dead branches also being removed.

The work is expected to take about ten days to complete.

The Birnam Oak and Sycamore, near Dunkeld, were damaged when Storm Desmond struck last December.

Nearby trees, which are beginning to encroach on the oak and dim its light, will also be trimmed back.

New supports for the oak and improvements to the surrounding path will begin later this year.

Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust outlined the work at a public meeting in April.

The trees are thought to be the sole survivors from the medieval forest made famous by Shakespeare and still attract thousands of visitors a year.

In Macbeth, the witches consulted by the Scottish king over his future tell him he shall "never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him".

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites