Recently, as part of the first ever Offas Dyke Ancient Tree survey I spent the day with the BBC Countryfile team (yes incl. Julia!) at Castle Mill, Chirk North Wales.
My survey feeds data into the Woodland Trust's nationwide project: the Ancient Tree Hunt (ATH).
The survey began in April 2008 and since then I have found many amazing ancient, veteran and notable trees on and near Offas Dyke Path (ODP). The ODP was opened in 1971 and this year is the the 40th anniversary of the path. http://www.offasdyke.demon.co.uk/
See an introduction video for my walk here...
Starting my walk at Prestatyn I have gradually made my way south towards my ultimate goal...Sedbury Cliffs nr Chepstow, approx. 177 miles. In 2003 I walked the whole of Offas Dyke Path after a period of illness. It was a big thing for me to achieve at that time, and 'til this day I still have a great affection for Offas Dyke. It helped to 'repair' me...
On that walk I never 'saw' any trees really... as I only had two eyes...now I have 'TREE EYES' and have found hundreds of brilliant trees. Including The Oak at the Gate of the Dead which has its own Facebook group (join here...
The Oak is situated on Offas Dyke at Castle Mill, Chirk the site of the Battle of Crogen and was perhaps a witness to the battle itself over 800 years ago in 1165.
Other great trees found include The Dragon Oak nr Montgomery. A veteran oak growing on a rocky outcrop with a 9 metre root that looks like a Dragon crawling down the rocks.
Several 1,000+ year old ancient Yew trees growing straight out of the rockface at the Eglwysegs
cliffs nr. Llangollen which we filmed in August 2009 with BBC Countryfile presenter James Wong.
An 11 metre girth! Oak in a field near the dyke at Welshpool discovered by a local ATH verifier.
Many other stupendous trees which can be seen on Flickr.com seacrh for 'thetreehunter' or follow... www.flickr.com/photos/14919622@N02/collections/72157609072638442
As well as the ancient treesI have met some really ancient, ooops, sorry erm interesting folks on my walk so far...
Watch it on BBC Countryfile 7pm Sunday 29th May 2011