The tallest tree in our farmyard is an ash. It has faithfully served as a wind break, provided welcome shade on hot summer days and its branches supported the swing that endured throughout our children’s growing up years.

But where it now stands there will soon be a gap in the tree line because, like the majority of ash in Wales, it has succumbed to ash dieback.

As I look at it now through my office window, instead of a crown covered with leaves, I see bare twigs pointing at the sky, a tell-tale sign of the disease that is ravaging it.

Once you know the signs, you see it everywhere. Bare branches, either yellow with lichen or just grey and brittle, jut in skeletal fashion from otherwise sturdy trunks.

One by one our ash trees are dying, irrevocably changing the vista in so many parts of Pembrokeshire.

The spread has been as rapid and devastating as ecologists predicted.

Bio-security to stop the preventable spread of plant disease is vital but it is unlikely that it would have stopped ash dieback because the spores are windborne.

It might have been slowed its spread somewhat, but it would have arrived eventually with the same devastating effects.

A lack of diversity in tree planting has made the disease particularly visible in some areas. When replacing dying or dangerous trees, councils have tended to plant row upon row of the same species.

Where they have opted for ash, the landscape is now devoid of trees where they have already been felled. This situation will be repeated in many more areas as the intensity of felling continues apace in the coming years.

This is inevitably a source of hand-wringing and despair but getting out there and planting trees for those of us that can is a positive step and that’s why we have got a tree planting scheme on the go on the farm.

A paddock that is challenging to farm will be planted with a mixture of native species this winter.

Yes, they will take years to reach the maturity of our once majestic ash but we are not planting solely with ourselves in mind but for the enjoyment of the future generations that will inhabit this piece of Pembrokeshire when we are long gone.