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Friday, May 17, 2024

One of world’s rarest trees returned home to Llangollen

* Planting partners.

A partnership has safeguarded an extremely rare tree found in Llangollen for future generations to enjoy.

Pupils from Ysgol Dinas Bran, Gwernant and Bryn Collen have been learning all about the Llangollen Whitebeam, a very rare tree which only exists at two locations in the world.

In 2017, a project ran in partnership between the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley National Landscape, Chester Zoo and Natural Resources Wales (NRW), commissioned a detailed survey to determine the population of this species, as well as to gauge their condition.

In total, only 315 of the trees were recorded, 307 were found at Creigiau Eglwyseg Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), with an additional eight trees in Shropshire.

Berries were also carefully collected and taken to Chester Zoo where skilled botanists cultivated the plants at the zoo for several years, by recreating the unique environment of Llangollen in a behind-the-scenes plant nursery.

* The Llangollen Whitebeam.

Now, six years later, 20 of the rare trees have been replanted in several locations around Llangollen, including one at Dinas Bran this month. The reintroduction was supported by local school pupils from Ysgol Dinas Bran and volunteers.

Emlyn Jones, Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services, said: “We are so fortunate to the rich diversity of wildlife found in Denbighshire and the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley National Landscape . To think that we hold almost the entire global population of just one species is remarkable and something to cherish.”

“Given the inaccessible places these trees grow, they are easily overlooked and many people are not aware as to the importance of this species.

“By planting them with school children, future generations will have a greater appreciation as to what is on our doorstep, and people will now be able to see and appreciate the Llangollen Whitebeam as it is planted in and around the town.”

Richard May, NRW Environment Officer, said: “We are very happy to have worked on this positive project with our partners at Clwydian Range and Dee Valley National Landscape and Chester Zoo.

“We now have an up-to-date survey of the endangered Llangollen Whitebeam and we understand more about the health of the population and what conservation management it requires.

“It’s amazing to think that this tree can only be found in two places in the world, and I’ll enjoy seeing these trees restored to Castell Dinas Bran.”

Richard Hewitt, Team Manager of the Nursery team at Chester Zoo, added: “Chester Zoo is well known for its species-saving work with a variety of animals, but many maybe unaware that we’re also dedicated to saving the world’s botanical treasures, too. Our team have dedicated more than six years to nurturing this species in our nursey, starting with a mere seed and growing them right through to these magnificent trees. It’s a great feeling to now see them go on to thrive in their historical home in North Wales.

“Without the help of this partnership, this special tree could have disappeared from our planet altogether.”

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