Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Protecting trees from heavy wind
Built during the 13th century, Chirk Castle in Wrexham, North Wales, was one of several medieval fortresses along the border between England and Wales. Once a dominating symbol of power, today this 480-acre estate, known for its ancient trees, is vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
The trees lining the walkways and drives are at risk of being uprooted and blown over by high winds and storms. Other extreme weather, such as a dry spring followed by heavy rain in summer, can cause the trees to go into shock and drop otherwise healthy branches. These trees aren't just a distinctive part of the estate's character, they also provide habitats for wildlife and shelter for visitors. At the meeting point of two rivers, this Site Of Special Scientific Interest is also home to rare invertebrates, bats, fungi and wild flowers.
Chirk Castle has to close its doors to visitors for safety reasons if winds reach 45mph in winter and 40mph in summer. In November 2021, Storm Arwen uprooted a veteran beech tree that blocked access to the estate and forced it to close for a week. We're expecting more closures in the future and the team at Chirk Castle is taking several actions to mitigate the impact of severe weather events, including non-invasive tree surgery to help the trees become more wind resistant.