• Fallen Giant

    Last year part of the mighty Buttington Oak, near Welshpool in Powys, peeled away from the rest of the tree and fell. In January the rest of the tree, quite probably imbalanced by the third that had previously collapsed, fell to the ground in stormy weather. This was the second largest oak in Wales with a girth of 36ft 2ins and grew, near enough, to the projected alignment of Offa's Dyke, quite probably having been taken as a boundary marker between England and Wales at some point in time, although obviously not as far back as the 8th century. In fact no specific historical or cultural associations can be attached to the tree - it was simply very large and incredibly old - best guess 800-1,000 years old.

    After photographing it in 2011 for my "Heritage Trees Wales" book I must admit that it looked solid and healthy enough to have lasted a good while longer, but one can seldom get an inkling of what's going on inside such a huge old burry bole unless one has the benefit of high tech ultrasound kit. I also think that agricultural practise might have contributed to the tree's demise - agrochemicals in the soil when arable held sway and then compaction to the surrounding soil when cattle were grazing and sheltering beneath it. Who knows? Maybe the tree had come to the natural end of its life anyway.

    No matter, it is always sad to hear of another fallen giant, but at least we have some photographic memories.


Archie Miles photography

Archie's Blog

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