Derwen Pwllpriddog, that for centuries has graced the roadside next to a country lane in Rhandirmwyn, has been crowned Wales’ Tree of the Year for 2018, following a public vote organised by The Woodland Trust and supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery.
Standing in a hedgerow just outside the quiet village of Rhandirmwyn in Carmarthenshire, the Pwllpriddog Oak is a giant, with a girth of some 8.4 metres. Some have estimated it to be 600-700 years old, while local historians believe it was planted to commemorate the Battle of Bosworth. It is reputed to have been the hiding place of a king; the local pub is known as the Royal Oak, after all. The tree is hollow, and there are a number of YouTube clips of bands and choirs singing inside it. Many years ago it is understood to be a meeting place for local lovers. The farm used it as the shelter for the pig and now the ducks from the current owner roost and hatch in the branches.
Clare Morgan, Senior Outreach Advisor for Coed Cadw Woodland Trust says: “The Pwllpriddog Oak is a worthy winner. It is one of many ancient trees in Wales which stand within old boundary hedgerows and which are of huge wildlife, historical and cultural significance.
The tree is on the deeds of the property owned by Chris and Nerys; following the announcement, they reflected as follows: “the tree, finally has a little recognition. Not Hollywood glamour. But perhaps due respect for the stoic fortitude over centuries. It has seen Kings, Queens and politicians come and go. She has avoided being demolished to build ships, farmhouses or bridges. She has suffered the indignity of having a road laid across her toes. She saw the felling of much of the ancient forest around her giving way to grazing. Who knows how she has survived; she has not done so in the protected space of a stately home arboretum. She has seen off so many storms, and survived the lead mining industry that decimated so much else in the valley including its people. Derwen Pwllpriddog has done this with little apparent pastoral care; has survivied despite lorries bumping into her, ramblers climbing her and dispatching bark. She marks the boundary of our land, and looks across the valley keeping secret the story of all she has seen and heard for hundreds of years. She truly is a survivor in the real world and an old lady who deserves the respect bestowed upon her!”
Hir oes i’r hen goeden.