Storm fells ancient tree in Lancaster Priory churchyard

Mighty Wych Elm had been standing for around 240 years before Storm Arwen ripped through the area, felling it

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 3:01 pm
The mighty Wych Elm in Lancaster Priory churchyard which was around 240-years-old was uprooted during Storm Arwen.
The mighty Wych Elm in Lancaster Priory churchyard which was around 240-years-old was uprooted during Storm Arwen.

The oldest tree in the district was ripped from the ground during the night of Storm Arwen. The mighty Wych Elm in Lancaster Priory churchyard, which is approximately 240-years-old, was uprooted and fell across the adjoining wall between the Priory Churchyard and the Shire Hall.

Listed in the Ancient Tree Inventory, this survivor of Dutch elm disease was certainly the oldest tree in the district and had a girth of 3.83m. Probably planted around 1780, it has stood strong through turbulent times, provided shade during hot weather and shelter to countless creatures.

The Ancient Tree Inventory maps the oldest and most important trees in the UK. There are already more than 160,000 trees listed but there are thousands more to add.

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The mighty Wych Elm in Lancaster Priory churchyard which was around 240-years-old was uprooted during Storm Arwen.

On the website here you can find out what the Ancient Tree Inventory records and why, how to record old and ancient trees and how to spot the oldest trees. There is also a map pinpointing the oldest trees in your area. Lancaster’s Wych Elm was recorded on the website by Owen Johnson, Tree Register of the British Isles.

The mighty Wych Elm which had stood in Lancaster Priory churchyard for around 240 years was felled during Storm Arwen.
This picture dates from the 1860s when the tree in Lancaster Priory churchyard was around 80-years-old. Picture courtesy of Phil Martin.