THE future of a 200-year-old tree in a Dudley borough nature reserve has been secured after vital work to prolong its life has been completed.

Dudley Council has been working with the Friends of Saltwells Nature Reserve to preserve the life of a western red cedar tree known to locals as the wishing tree.

The 200-year-old tree sits on the piece of land at Saltwells National Nature Reserve, which came back into the council’s ownership earlier this year.

The tree had sustained damage over recent years and also suffered from a number of arson attacks.

To prevent it from sustaining any further damage, weakening, or even dying, the council has reduced the size of the canopy by cutting it back by one third.

Councillor Shaz Saleem, Dudley Council's cabinet member for highways and public realm, said: "The world’s oldest red cedar is more than 1,400 years old, so our tree is still very young in comparison.

"We know this is a special tree for locals and we want to do all we can to protect it for as long as possible.

"By reducing the tree by one third, it does change the look of the tree, but was essential to protect the parts of the tree, which had the greatest chance of survival."

Les Drinkwater, vice chairperson of Friends of Saltwells Nature Reserve, added: "This tree is very special to us and the local community, and we hope taking this action now will enable it to thrive for at least another 200 years."

The Friends group are hosting a free guided winter walk in the reserve on Tuesday December 6.

The two-hour guided walk will be on maintained paths and is suitable for all abilities.

To book a place call or text Les Drinkwater on 07969 165761 or email via