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

27 Nov 2023 4 minute read
Volunteers gather to map ancient trees in Wales’ capital

Volunteers from across Cardiff will map ancient trees growing around the city in the hopes of safeguarding the living relics for future generations.

While stately homes, cathedrals, and works of art receive significant attention and protection as part of Welsh 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 Wales’ capital.

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.

Sweet Chestnut veteran: Image David Alderman


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.

In Cefn Onn a notable Common Beech and a Silver Birch were added to the inventory, and volunteers helped to re-measure a Pedunculate Oak.

At Saint Fagans existing records for the site were updated, including a Maiden Oak with a Girth of 5.38m.

Image: Keep Wales Tidy


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.”

Image: Keep Wales Tidy


The Coed Cadw’s Emergency Tree Fund aims to boost green spaces for health; plant trees to soak up harmful carbon and combat pollution; and create detailed strategies to meet carbon zero targets.

In total, over £2.9 million has been distributed to councils across the UK, forming a key part of The Woodland Trust’s ambitious aim to plant 50 million trees by 2025.

In 2021, Cardiff Council received a grant of £228,862 from the fund, to help implement its ‘One Planet Cardiff’ response to the climate emergency via the Coed Caerdydd project.

Image: Keep Wales Tidy

Tree nursery

Since then, a city-wide programme of tree planting has since invited hundreds of volunteers to work with the council to create new community orchards, plant new hedgerows and distribute hundreds of trees to households, community groups and schools.

The fund also accelerated the creation of a brand-new tree nursery at Forest Farm in north Cardiff.

To register an interest in the next Ancient Tree Inventory event, visit the Coed Caerdydd website.

To find out more about ancient and veteran trees – how they differ and why they are important, click here.

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7 months ago

Good. To many trees cut down by Cardiff council over the last few years. At the very least, ancient trees deserve appropriate care and protection.

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