ANCIENT oak trees which stood in Herefordshire hundreds of years ago could provide an historical insight into Hereford Cathedral's world-famous Mappa Mundi.

Long-awaited research is being carried out into a mediaeval panel - the only surviving part of the Mappa's original display case.

Dr Ian Tyers, from Sheffield University, is carrying out the analysis under the director of Cathedral conservation consultant Christopher Clarkson.

Early analysis reveals that oak trees used to make the panel would have been about 300 years old when they were cut down.

Dr Tyers believes the trees were grown locally to Hereford, fuelling the argument the map could have been made in the city, as opposed to Lincoln.

He can also confirm the case was made at the same time as the Mappa Mundi, at around 1300 or earlier.

Hereford Cathedral communications manager, Dominic Harbour, said: "Initial research has been done and the data will be taken away to compile the report and findings.

"We have some good indications about the findings, and we're very excited.

Mr Harbour said the research was part of the conservation work of Hereford Cathedral.