King Charles III plants a rare sapling at Erddig in memory of Queen Elizabeth II
- 09 December 2022
His Majesty The King visited Erddig in Wrexham today, along with the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, to plant a rare oak sapling in memory of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The sapling was successfully grown from a graft taken from the historic Pontfadog oak tree, which stood at Cilcochwyn Farm near Chirk in Wrexham until it fell in a storm in 2013. The tree was cared for by generations of the Williams family and is thought to have been one of the largest and oldest oak trees in the world.
The tree was planted in memory of the late Queen Elizabeth II. It marks His Majesty’s first visit to a place cared for by the National Trust since his accession to the throne.
His Majesty and the First Minister were joined by Director-General of the National Trust Hilary McGrady and the Director for Wales, National Trust Cymru, Lhosa Daly. They met with several staff and young volunteers during their visit.
A royal return to Erddig
His Majesty has visited Erddig before – to open it to the public in 1977 and then again 25 years later in 2002.
‘It’s an honour to welcome His Majesty The King back to Erddig, and to welcome the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford,’ says Hilary. ‘His Majesty has long been a supporter of our work at Erddig, including opening the property to the public in 1977 and a visit to mark its 25th anniversary in the care of the National Trust in 2002.’
‘We’re deeply privileged to have His Majesty, the First Minister and members of the Williams family with us to plant the Pontfadog oak sapling to honour The Queen. We look forward to caring for the sapling as it grows and provides a space for people to reflect and connect with nature and history.’
‘It was a pleasure to be present at Erddig for the planting of the Pontfadog oak sapling in honour of The Queen,’ says Mark Drakeford. ‘The tree has an incredible history, having been grafted from such a grand and ancient oak. I hope that the tree will grow and develop into a mighty oak that will stand for centuries to come at Erddig.’
Space for the community
Before the planting, the group heard about Erddig’s active community work, which focuses on increasing access for children and young people to National Trust places.
His Majesty and the First Minister met some of the youth volunteers who take part in Erddig Grow. The project works with partner organisations to support people's wellbeing by helping them to learn skills, get out into in nature and build connections with others.
His Majesty also planted a copper beech tree with some of the youth volunteers as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.
‘It was a pleasure to see brilliant young volunteers introduced to His Majesty and the First Minister,’ says Lhosa Daly. ‘The work that volunteers and staff do at Erddig to increase access to nature, beauty and history makes a real difference to so many people’s wellbeing. It goes to the very heart of the National Trust’s charitable purpose.’
‘This ethos has long been part of Erddig’s legacy in the Wrexham community. In the 1790s, the Yorke family who cared for Erddig before the Trust championed these values and ensured the estate was open for the health and amusement of local people. It’s wonderful to see this legacy continued at Erddig today through projects like Erddig Grow and many others.’
Erddig’s apples and Advent windows
During the visit, His Majesty and the First Minister met Erddig’s Head Gardener, Glyn Smith, who showed them the bountiful display of apples from this year’s harvest. The Erddig estate contains vast orchards of trained fruit trees and is home to over 200 apple varieties. The group also saw the penny-farthing bicycle His Majesty rode on his first visit to Erddig in 1977.
This December, the outside of the house at Erddig has been transformed into a giant Advent calendar, with a new Advent window shining out from the mansion house each day. On the day of The King’s visit, the 9th advent window was unveiled, revealing a picture of a Christmas tree drawn by 7-year-old Noah, who lives locally.
His Majesty was also presented with an acorn carved from Erddig oak by a volunteer, and a selection of apples from the orchards.
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