Brecon Beacons Tree Wardens begin parkwide tree hunt

Posted on 13 Oct 2021

The National Park Authority has officially launched a new network of tree hunters to record the Park’s veteran and ancient trees.  Meeting recently for their first training event at Llanthony Priory, the Brecon Beacons Tree Wardens began the mammoth task of mapping historically important trees across the Park over the next five years.

Brecon Beacons Tree Wardens discover an ancient pear tree on their first official tree hunt above Llanthony Priory.

Brecon Beacons Tree Wardens discover an ancient pear tree on their first official tree hunt above Llanthony Priory.

During the launch day National Park Warden and Group Coordinator, Sam Harpur, and Rob McBride, who recently completed the mapping the great trees of Offa’s Dyke Path, led the wardens on their first veteran tree hunting expedition. The tree wardens are all volunteers and include local woodland and conservation group members and other knowledgeable tree enthusiasts. Each warden will cover a different area of the National Park, gathering details, statistics and photos of the trees around them and recording data onto a central mapping app.

The long-term aims of the Brecon Beacons tree wardens include information sharing with relevant organisations and networks across Wales and the UK. There are plans to assist in the management and safeguarding of the notable trees, both for future generations and for the wildlife and biodiversity they support. And as fantastic carbon stores, trees, especially veteran and ancient varieties with their larger capacity to lock up carbon, play a vital part in the fight against climate change which is even more reason to record them.

Sam Harpur, Brecon Beacons Tree Warden Co-ordinator said;
“I am incredibly excited to launch the Brecon Beacons tree wardens group and get started on our journey to map the many historically important trees within our designated landscape. None have been fully recorded until now and we look forward to sharing our finds with local communities and young people, encouraging them to celebrate and treasure the Brecon Beacon’s older generation of trees.”

Rob McBride, also known as the Tree Hunter, added;
“Even during the first tree hunt, the group discovered several culturally significant trees including an ancient Cwm-bwchel Pear Tree and a phoenix apple tree. A stunning 300-year-old ash pollard completed a memorable day of immersion in the beautiful countryside and I look forward to finding more of the incredible wonders of the arboreal world in the Brecon Beacons National Park.”

The Brecon Beacons tree wardens and tree mapping project have received funding support from the Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund and the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Landscapes, Sustainable Places Programme.