A Welsh Oak Tree That's 1,000 Years Old Has Fallen Down

A thousand years is a long time for anything to be alive. To give you a sense of perspective, a thousand years ago a sixteen year German-Polish war had just ended, King Cnut had just succeeded his brother Harold II on the Danish throne, and William the Conqueror wasn't even alive yet. It's a heck of a time span.

It's sad to hear, then, that one of Wales' oldest trees which was probably planted almost a millennium ago has fallen down.

Credit: Rob McBride
Credit: Rob McBride

The tree, the Buttington Oak, was spotted fallen in its field two miles from the town of Welshpool, Powys, just months after it had been split in half by strong winds.

Rob McBride, joint founder and director of TREEspect CIC, is a 'tree hunter' and campaigner for the protection of ancient trees. He said he was sad to see such an important tree taken out by the elements.

Rob added that the mighty oak tree had a girth of around 11m, which would make it around 1,000 years old.

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According to Rob, the oak tree had huge cultural significance as it was a pollard - a tree that had had its upper branches removed and had been planted in the field manually.

McBride explained that the Buttington Oak would likely have been planted by local people to mark the site of the Battle of Buttington, which took place in 893 AD.

The tree is also believed to be a boundary marker for Offa's Dyke - an earthwork built by King Offa in the 8th Century that roughly follows the current border between England and Wales.

Credit: Rob McBride
Credit: Rob McBride

The Buttington Oak had split in half last May after it succumbed to strong easterly winds but is now believed to have grounded entirely.

"It's such a pity as this was the largest tree on Offa's Dyke and the second largest in Wales," McBride said, speaking with the BBC.

Offa's Dyke, where the Buttington Oak was located. Credit: PA
Offa's Dyke, where the Buttington Oak was located. Credit: PA

You probably haven't heard of the Battle of Buttington - it took place in 893 between a Viking army and an alliance of Anglo-Saxons and the Welsh.

The battle resulted in the invading Vikings being cornered in a fortification, when they starved after several weeks and were eventually defeated by the combined English and Welsh army.

It's sad that this piece of ancient British history is gone for good. Looks like we'll just have to plant some new trees to make up for it.

Featured Image Credit: Supplied

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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