Here at the Oakeley Arms Hotel, we're surrounded by them and we love 'em. Some of them are really, really, really old, ancient in fact, and some are a little younger. Some are tall and strong, and some are short and squat. Noooooo silly, we're not talking about our regulars! We're talking about TREES!
And because it's National Tree Week this week (24th November to the 2nd December) we've gone "conkers" (sorry) for trees! This annual event is run by the UK Tree Council, and celebrates all things trees. It also marks the beginning of the winter tree planting season, so there are loads of special events taking place across the country.
Image by Ayla87 on sxc.hu
The Oakeley Arms is set on the edge of one of the oldest forests in Wales. Coed y Bleiddiau literally means "Forest of the Wolves" and legend has it that the last wild wolf to roam Wales was killed in the depths of these trees hundreds of years ago. There are several expanses of woodland that line the Vale of Ffestiniog, and all are within walking distance of the Oakeley Arms. Many are designated as Nature Reserves and they are remnants of the great Atlantic Oakwoods that would once have covered most of the European coast.
Today, you'll find an amazing variety of trees in these woods. The majority are Sessile Oaks, but you'll also discover a few beech, holly, hazel, birch and rowan trees. And not only trees live here. The humid conditions are ideal for ferns and mosses to thrive, as well as busy bird and insect populations. If you're really lucky you may spot a wild otter in one of the streams. One of the finest species of this forest though is the rare Horseshoe Bat that lives here, but you'll have to venture out at dusk to have a chance of spotting this shy creature.
So, celebrate National Tree Week in style. Go down to the woods today and see what you can discover. There are excellent woodland trails through many parts of the Meirionydd Oakwoods. You can find more information here and more details about the work of bat conservation on the CCW website.
Find out more about the work of the Tree Council and about National Tree Week here. There are workshops to celebrate National Tree Week taking place at Venue Cymru in Llandudno; find more info about that here!
Explore the vast expanses of forests close to the Oakeley Arms Hotel