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Llangattock - near canal (Powys)
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Thanks to Tim from Belgium for sending the location and photographs of this amazing Giant Redwood. Tim says "I just saw you did not have a large giant redwood in Crickhowell (Powys) yet. It stands in the small village of Llangattock, along a small canal.

It's girth is at 1.5 m is 10.6 m! (I measured this myself in 2007). Near the ground it even is an amazing 21.56 m.

This really is an astonishingly widely-fluted base, even for a Giant Redwood tree!
I just had to go and see this tree for myself when travelling through Powys, and I was not at all disappointed. After pondering for a few moments whether the fluted base was either root structure or trunk, I got on with the tricky job of measuring the brute! The height of 38.8 metres (2008), although tall, is not outstanding for a Redwood. As for the girth, I counted thirty paces around the perimeter of the base and took two measurments, the later being where 1.5 metres from ground level would be in a normal tree. Not an easy decision to make but I have to conclude that this is one of the widest I have measured at 11.2 metres. Even using the more conservative measurement of 9 metres (at a height of 2 metres from the ground), it is still in the top three. I will hold off from adding this tree to the Top Ten Broadest table while I ponder its appropriate position! Perhaps the lower part is root structure but I could see no evidence of the soil eroding here, the ground seems level and I cannot imagine that it was planted on a raised hump of soil to start with. The other possibility I wondered about is whether the tree has raised up its base a little, perhaps due to impregnable sub-soil? Any ideas that readers may have on this subject would be welcome.

Do not miss any opportunity to go and see this Giant if you get the chance. Park your car in Hillside road and walk to the stone bridge carrying the road over the canal. In addition to going to see this most marvellous tree, (and once you have negoitated the stone steps up, over and down this bridge - you will need to be fairly agile), there is a delightful walk by the canal. Take your left-over bread to feed the ducks and look out for kingfishers as you stroll along this peaceful footpath.

Den wrote with recollections of this tree in his teenage years. "My Granddad lived at wharf cottage (tied to the job- but idylic, now ruined!) which is about 5 bridges in the direction of Brecon. He was a stonemason attached to the waterways and also had the duty of inspecting the bank for leaks as he went about his mason's work, repairing bridges and walls mostly.

I thought he had the best job in the world and aged 17 I worked with him as an apprentice and masons "mate" (fetch and carry and hopefully learn skills) 1967/8/9 whilst the Brecon Monmouth Canal was undergoing rejuvenation as a tourist attraction (Commercialisation... dont get me started!) Anyway, our man the giant redwood at Llangattock, it was at least 27 steps around (not as accurate as your measuring method) and I could still cling on to the bark and climb up it then. A great view at the top.

But the question of the roots or the base being what you see on the ground? Granddad told me the tree didn't cause too many problems with the roots looking for water as with some trees the roots pentrate the clay base and the water finds a way out and whoosh the canal is washing out, happened plenty of times but the redwood roots were smoother and went upwards so it never gave much trouble. He also said that the area around its base WAS higher in earlier years and that much of it had been topped off to organise the surrounding rhodedendron bushes which in those days were spectacular.

I note from your photo that they have been pulled or pruned away from the base of the tree. It was not always so. They were right up to it when I was a young lad. So I would say from that information that the first couple of feet showing are roots. Furthermore I don't remember quite so much root type formation back then.

However that may be a subjective memory, I have lived away for 42 years. The old tree makes me feel very transient.

Thank you for your story Den, It is fascinating and a great record of a little bit of history that could easily have become lost.

Common Names and Latin Name Latitude and Longitude OS National Grid Elevation
(above sea-level)
Height Girth Date Measured
Giant Redwood
Sequoiadendron giganteum
SO 21195 17011 367ft
38.8m a) 11.2m
b) 9m
Oct 2008
Girth was measured at a) 1.5 metres from ground, b) 2 metres from ground

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