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On the hunt for historic trees
Tv presenter James Wong and tree hunter Rob McBride look out over Llangollen
TV presenter James Wong and tree hunter Rob McBride go in search of an old Yew tree high over Llangollen

BBC1 TV show Countryfile has been filming ancient trees in north east Wales to highlight their historical importance.

Presenter James Wong joined local expert Rob McBride, known as the Tree Hunter, to learn more - and found themselves abseiling down a rock face at Llangollen.

This was because The Woodland Trust has launched a programme called the Ancient Tree Hunt and Rob, who has been researching important trees locally, has been finding them in unusual places.

So the pair went to Dinbren Uchaf in the area known as the Panorama, Llangollen, to measure a yew tree that is hundreds of years old.

Pontfadog Oak
Rob and James also went to see the 1,100-year-old Pontfadog Oak, near Chirk, which has a girth of 42ft 5in (12.9m)

Later they visited an historic tree, the so-called 'Oak at the gate of the dead', which got its name as it has been standing on the site since the battle of Crogen in 1165 which saw Owain Gwynedd, a prince who ruled over a large part of north Wales, defeat the forces of Henry II in 1165.

It's Welsh name is Adwy'r Beddau, 'the pass of the graves' because the English soldiers who died in the battle are said to have been buried nearby by their Welsh counterparts near Offa's Dyke path Ceiriog Valley.

The Countryfile programme highlights the battle of Crogen and the oak tree pointing out that unlike historic buildings that have played a part in history, trees aren't afforded the same protection.

However, The Woodland Trust is now half way through its five year public project to set up a database of ancient trees in which they aim to find and log 100,000 ancient trees - with the help from the public.

Rob from Ellesmere, near Wrexham, is one of the volunteers involved in the hunt, having measured and logged more than 1,000 trees himself. He says that many important trees are growing in extreme places that are hard to get to and measure.

Countryfile BBC1, Sunday 10 January, 7pm, and watch online afterwards




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