The Starlings of Treflach and Royal Trees

Treflach is literally the stamping ground for 150 starlings at this time of year. 

As all the grass is short in the fields they land en-mass and with a curious shuffle they charm their favourite foods, leather jackets and wire worms, out of the soil.

During the summer months they follow the cattle around the fields as they disturb other insects and worms, and catch flies around the friendly cattle.

During August they are joined by other starlings from the district and for several hours in the afternoon they roost in the Great Cedar having a caucus in the mass of branches.  The noise is deafening; a mixture of twitters, clicks and high whistles which they have no doubt done for hundreds of years. 

They then make off to the other parts of the county to do their aerobatic displays in their thousands.

The Cedar of Lebanon or Cedrus Magna at Treflach Hall Farm was planted mid 17th century by Colonel Roger Evans who served under Cromwell (see Richard Gough history of Myddle).  Cedrus Libani was coined in 1714 by Tournforte, after his voyage to the Levant, piqued a great interest in the tree by the rich and powerful in the country. 

Ever since The Crusades stories of mythical trees like cathedrals reaching for the sky abounded.  The printing of the King James Bible in 1611 put a bible in every church that all could understand.  The Cedar is mentioned 103 times at a time when tree worshiping was very real; Cromwell banned the practice when he came into power.

In 1876 Queen Victoria ordered and payed for a wall to be built on 250 acres on Mount Lebanon to protect the few Cedars left.  No young cedars were growing due to overgrazing by goats.  Over millennia the ancients had stripped the country of its indigenous forest as the Cedar was prized by everyone. Cedar does not rot; the resin preserved important records; the sawdust was used to preserve human bodies from putrefaction; large 120 foot beams of cedar wood was used in palaces and temples and many ships.

The Cedar of Treflach (Sunday Telegraph 13-07-08, 10 Prominent trees of Britain from The Woodland Trust) lost one of its 100 foot trunks and much more on March 22nd 2013 in heavy wet snow – other local goliath trees weren’t so lucky and are now no more.