The oak tree, which sits in the hay meadow next to the river in the Country Park, is of historical importance having been planted by world-renowned 19th Century opera singer Adelina Patti on 6th June 1914 in the grounds of her home, Craig-y-nos Castle. The oak tree was planted in the year that she made her last public performance – five years before her death – and was damaged in storms last month.
Damage to the 99-year-old tree was first reported by local residents in the aftermath of fierce storms in June. Estate Wardens from Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, who manage Craig-y-nos Country Park, immediately carried out minor emergency works to make the tree safe. On Tuesday 23rd July specialist tree surgeons from Oliver Field Ltd of Abergavenny bolted the tree’s trunk together to prevent further damage. The tree has also been reshaped, with three to four tons of wood taken from the top of the oak to avoid further splitting.
Ian Penn, Estate Warden for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, said: “Adelina Patti’s oak tree is without doubt the most valuable tree here in Craig-y-nos Country Park and probably the most valuable tree in the National Park Authority’s custody. Many people locally know the story of the tree and of its significance, so it was important that we did everything we could to preserve the tree which was at risk of falling over due to the damage that had been caused by last month’s storms.”
Carys Howell, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority’s Member Champion for Visitor Centres, added: “This special tree is a jewel in the crown of the Country Park’s many beautiful trees, flora and fauna. While we wanted to carry out as little work as possible to the tree, it was vital that works took place to make it safe and try to ensure its long-term wellbeing.”
It is hoped that wood cut from the tree will be able to be used by local craftspeople to create hand-made mementos from the famous oak that will be available for the public to buy.