Page last updated at 16:39 GMT, Friday, 12 February 2010

Council protects 1,200-year-old oak tree near Wrexham

Countryfile presenter James Wong, with Mark Williams and ancient tree hunter Rob McBride, stood by the Great Oak of the Gate of the Dead
The tree has featured on BBC's Countryfile

A tree protection order (TPO) has been placed on one of the oldest oaks in Britain, which has split down the middle after the recent cold weather.

But specialists are confident The Great Oak at the Gates of the Dead, near Chirk, Wrexham, can survive the ordeal.

The TPO was put in place by Wrexham County Borough Council and permission will be needed from officials before any repair work is carried out.

It is thought the tree dates back to the reign of King Egbert in 802.

It is near the site of the Battle of Crogen in 1165 when the tree is thought to have been spared by King Henry II.

It is believed that the recent cold snap caused the tree to split.

A spokeswoman for Wrexham County Borough Council confirmed a tree protection order was in place, and officials would have to grant permission for any work to be carried out.


Ben Kearsley of Canopy Tree Care said the tree could be saved by using growth hormones to stimulate growth.

"It's complicated because about 60% of the tree is standing and about 40% is on the ground, but I think it can be saved," he added.

"The work needs to be carried out quite quickly because the wind might damage the roots we need to treat with growth hormones."

Local historians Mark Williams and Deryn Poppit discovered the damage on Tuesday.

Mr Williams said he was "delighted" arboriculturalists might be able to save the tree.

The tree was spared when King Henry II had his men cut down the Ceiriog Woods in 1165 before he met - and was defeated - by Owain Gwynedd in the Battle of Crogen.

A plaque marking the battle was unveiled last year after Mr Williams and Mr Poppit campaigned to have the site officially recognised.

Last month the tree was featured on BBC1's Countryfile.

After hearing about the damage, Mike McKenna, director of the Chirk wood-based panel producer, Kronospan, offered to try and preserve the oak.

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