Job done - Tree work at Aberglasney Gardens

Project: Restoring a yew tunnel
Client: Aberglasney Gardens
Contractor: In-house operations team
Cost: £5,000

A centuries-old yew tunnel has been carefully restored to its original glory by gardeners at one of Wales' historic gardens.

An extensive pruning programme at Aberglasney Gardens in Carmarthenshire has returned the archway to its form seen in early pictures.

The bid to preserve the 24m tunnel involved drastic action after years of neglect had left it unsafe. The yews were cut back in 1999 amid protests.

Aberglasney's director of operations Graham Rankin said: "There was much controversy over the restorative process but it is so nice to see it looking invigorated and healthy again. I had every confidence that with careful restoration it would help its future longevity, but it did look drastic at the time."

The six yew trees making up the tunnel at Aberglasney are estimated to be 280 years old.

The tunnel was formed by bending over the tops of the trees to make an arched garden feature. Over the centuries the branches fused together and the tops rooted to form a living tunnel.

A team of around six gardeners from Aberglasney has been carrying out the work, which initially involved the hire of cherry pickers and chippers to give the trees their heavy pruning.

"It looked sick before with straggly branches," added Rankin."Now it's magnificent and we will just do an annual light clip, like we did this year."

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