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Cardiff volunteers help to map city’s ancient & veteran trees

While stately homes, cathedrals, and works of art receive significant attention and protection as part of our heritage, ancient trees, equally valuable in their historical significance, often go overlooked.

But in a collective effort this year, volunteers from across Cardiff have dedicated their time to measuring, recording, and mapping ancient trees around the city, with the shared goal of safeguarding these living relics for future generations.

Throughout 2023, three Ancient Tree Inventory Training Days have been undertaken by Coed Cadw (the Woodland Trust in Wales) in partnership with Coed Caerdydd, part of Cardiff Council’s ‘One Planet Cardiff’ strategy to fight climate change.

Each of these events is centred around the task of adding trees to the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Inventory, a citizen science project which aims to map all of the UK’s ancient, veteran and notable trees.

In Cardiff, events have taken place at:

  • Bute Park: Where a Sweet Chestnut tree with a 4.7 metre girth was first measured by Coed Cadw staff member Nigel Pugh, along with an ancient Ash previously unrecorded, and many other notable and veteran trees.
  • Cefn Onn: Where a notable Common Beech and a Silver Birch were added to the inventory, and volunteers helped to re-measure a Pedunculate Oak.
  • Saint Fagans: Where existing records for the site were updated, including a Maiden Oak with a Girth of 5.38m.

After each event, volunteers leave with the skills to add their own trees to the inventory, flagging important specimens for the Coed Cadw local team to check and verify.

Maggie Elsey-Cox, Engagement and Communications Officer at Coed Cadw said “Old trees are extraordinary. Some of them have lived for thousands of years, linking us with our history and culture, but they have astonishing ecological value too, supporting thousands of species. Cardiff has a number of these ancient and veteran trees and they all need protecting and caring for – but first we need to find out exactly where they are.

Our Ancient Tree Inventory events in Cardiff this year have been a great success, leaving people feeling inspired about ancient trees, and equipped with the knowledge of how to measure and record these incredible specimens in their own areas.”

To register an interest in the next Ancient Tree Inventory event, visit the Coed Caerdydd website: www.outdoorcardiff.com/biodiversity/coed-caerdydd/volunteering-opportunities.