Possibly the oldest in Wales? Recently we wrote about Citizen Science – how anyone can contribute to what we know about our world by recording what they see. One example is the Ancient Tree Register managed by the Woodland Trust. The Wildlife Group is registered as a recording group so if we come across a tree that is likely to be particularly old we take measurements and send the details off. So far we have recorded 18 trees, many of them in our parish. These would be regarded as 'veterans' – to be 'ancient' a tree has to be at least 400 years old – the likeliest candidate being the yew in St Mary's churchyard facing Old Port Road.
However, whilst walking near Tretower recently members of the group came across a massive oak. It measured over 10 metres around the trunk and details were sent off along with photo, grid reference and lists of the mosses and lichens growing on it. The response we received from the Ancient Tree Register was encouraging. "This is a most remarkable ancient oak you have recorded in the Brecon Beacons… What a great find and thanks for adding it to the Woodland Trust's Ancient Tree inventory. Although the girth could be exaggerated by the tree's condition, falling open, it still suggests that this is one of the biggest and possibly oldest oaks in Wales"
It was as recent as 2014 that was is considered to be Britain's oldest tree was discovered in a churchyard in Wales, a yew in St Cynogs churchyard at Defynnog near Sennybridge which is thought to be 5,000 years old. The Pontfadog Oak was believed to be Wales's oldest oak at 1,200 years but it fell over in 2013. It will be interesting to see how our oak comes out when investigations and surveys have been completed