Day 164 Mile 164: Prehistoric Forest. Rhyl is renowned for many things, not particularly for its woodland, but, on the sea shore there are the remains of a prehistoric forest, which can sometimes be visible though the sand when the tides are right. As I happened to be working near the area this afternoon I thought I would go and see if I could find them!
The stumps are rooted in peat levels below the marine sand, and have been preserved by continuous waterlogged conditions since the trees grew, believed to be 6,000 years ago or more.
Although observed and commented upon through the centuries, including by Gerald of Wales in 1188 and Samuel Pepys in 1665 no serious study of submerged forests was made, before their true nature was understood, they were believed to be the result of the biblical flood and were referred to as ‘Noah’s Trees’. In 1893, hundreds of people visited the beach to witness the remains of the submerged forest, after it had been revealed by the tide for the first time in 80 years.
This account is from the North Wales Chronicle, February 11th, 1893:
The action of the tide at Rhyl within the last few days has disclosed the singular sight of an ancient forest, which, for a period of eighty years has been completely covered by the sea. The scoured portion of the beach where the remarkable sight is presented is situated opposite the Marine Drive, about a mile east of the pier. The town surveyor Mr. R. Hughes has made an accurate plan of the place, which shows about thirty trees rooted as they grew, whilst there are a number of horizontal trunks which appear to rest as they fell. Several of the trees have been proved to be of oak and elm, and the remainder appeared to be birch, alder and hazel. The stumps vary in diameter from 12 to 24 inches, and are situated about 100 yards from the edge of the sandhills and are covered during high spring tides by about 10 feet of water. The scoured portion in the sands, which exposes these old roots, extends for about 550 yards in length and varies in width from 7 to 35 yards. Folk lore asserts that this is part of an old forest, the portion in question being known as “Coed Mawr y Rhyl”.
So with a low tide at around tea time I tried my luck to see if I could find them… Sadly the tide was to high but it was good fun trying and an ice-cream on the seafront can help out with almost any disappointment
Photos courtesy of Rhyl History Club
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 1926.6 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
Thanks as ever for all the support!