Mid Wales

Bid to save ancient Powys oak from the axe

The oak tree at Tregaer, near Erwood in Powys Image copyright by Liz Fleming Williams
Image caption The oak tree near Erwood overlooks the River Wye

A campaign is underway to try to save an ancient Powys oak tree threatened with the axe over safety concerns.

The oak at Tregaer, near Erwood, is thought to be 400-500 years old but has a split in its trunk.

Powys council has agreed to consider a second report on the future of the tree after one expert said it should come down.

It has led the Woodland Trust to call for a register of ancient trees in Wale to recognise the "living monuments".

The tree, which is 21 ft (6.4m) around its trunk at chest height, stands at the junction of three minor roads around two miles outside Erwood.

Concerns about it were raised by Karen Laurie-Parry, who lives about 150 yards from the tree.

But she later contacted the Woodland Trust after a tree surgeon's report told Powys council that the oak should be felled.

Trust advisor Ray Woods agreed the tree "undoubtedly represents a significant hazard" but said "tree surgery to significantly reduce the weight of the branches could significantly reduce the risk".

He added: "If, after tree surgery and observation from the crown of the tree, there is still concern with regard to a split in the trunk, some form of bracing looks eminently feasible."

Image copyright Liz Fleming Williams
Image caption Woodland Trust advisor Ray Woods believes the tree can be preserved

"Ancient trees, the wildlife they support and their unique character are so rare now we cannot afford to lose any more."

The trust has called for more protection for Wales' oldest trees including a register of trees at risk.

It said it was unclear who owns the oak and that even if a way to preserve it was found, there was no government-supported fund to pay for the work.

'National landmark'

Trust director Jerry Langford said: "A national register would classify, celebrate, and protect from harm each of Wales' trees of special interest for the rest of their days.

"It could also help landowners to properly care for these trees as they become even older and grander with age, by allowing them to access more support through grants and specialist advice.

"While many of these trees are listed by local authorities under the system of tree protection orders, this is by no means a comprehensive catalogue of all of the important trees in an area."

Mrs Laurie-Parry has offered to fundraise towards the cost of tree surgery work on the oak.

"This fabulous oak tree is a local and national landmark," she added.

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