Our evening of talks on 6th November in the Priory Hall was very much a success. John Tuer spoke about Looking after your Garden Trees in an intersting and informative way and Luke Neal from Shropshire Wildlife Trust gave a power point presentation about their work in the Corvedale to provide natural answers to the problem of flooding in the countryside with their Slow the Flow programme. We raised funds enough to carry out more planting in and around Much Wenlock and to make a small donation to the Shropshire Wildlife Trust.
Thanks to our supporter's generous donations we have recently planted a beech tree adjacent to the old cemetery on the Bridgnorth Road and two amalanchiers in St Owen's Road. In the New Year we will be planting a further amalanchier in St Owens Road which will eventually make that area very attractive. We have now finished our planting scheme in St Owens Road which will in the future look very attractive indeed and will be an asset to the townscape.
We have also gained permission from the Gaskell Ground Board of Management to plant a replacement commemorative oak tree for the Juan Samaranch tree which was felled earlier in the year.
It is pleasing to see that Connexus, the developers for the Callaughton Ash site, have planted seventeen trees, these will not only add beauty, shade and places for birds to roost and feed but will also help alleviate flooding.
For the Wenlock Herald, December 2018
FROM MUCH WENLOCK TREE FORUM
Not another tree under threat !!
We have a surprising number of 'Wellingtonia' trees in Much Wenlock – three in the church grounds and three in the Gaskell Grounds – many more than in most towns. Five have been planted by William Penny Brookes and one for him. The latter tree is that standing alone in the middle of the Gaskell Grounds. It was planted in 1872 and is significant in the history of the town in a number of ways. Its position is the exact corner of the original Wenlock Olympian Games site, thus showing the extent of the original games. It was planted by the Wenlock Olympian Society and the children of the local National School (now Priory Hall) to honour Dr. Brookes, twenty two years after he started our local Olympian Games. The Wellington Journal and Shrewsbury News of 21st December 1872 recorded the planting of this tree: “On Saturday last an event occurred in the little town of Much Wenlock, which will long be remembered – the planting of a Wellingtonia gigantea by members of the Wenlock Olympian Society, on their recreation ground as a tribute of respect to the founder of the society, W.P.Brookes, Esquire. The tree was borne along with great ceremony by members of the society and children of the National School, preceded by the spirit-stirring drum:and when installed in the selected spot, was left to grow up a memorial tree, one of nature's monuments, far surpassing many of those fashioned by the hand of man.”
A Mr. Stroud had composed verses and set them to music and these were sung by the school children and WOS members. In the final verse, they sang “Thy name shall be Brookes's tree” and so we have here today, one hundred and forty six years later, the very tree, of all those in town, that actually commemorates William Penny Brookes. We cannot possibly take it down and everything must be done to keep it healthy and retain it.
I say this because there are those in town who would like it removed. It stands in the way of cricket matches. It has been shedding branches recently. In my view, the value of this tree as a green memorial stands far above any transient disadvantages it might offer. I hope my readers agree. The falling of branches is a rare occurrence. Correctly pruned, the tree will live a healthy life for many thousand, yes “thousand”, years. In its native habitat, the Sierra Nevada range of the Rocky Mountains (it is also called the Sierra Redwood) specimens have grown to be two or three thousand years old.
Perhaps I might ask you to pay a visit to this tree and to pick up one of its fallen cones. Shake this into your hand and look at the tiny seeds that fall out, seeds no larger than about 4 millimetres. And yet these seeds given the right conditions of soil and climate, can produce one of the largest species of trees on earth. That's not magic. That's nature.
Let me finish by quoting from something William Blake wrote about two hundred years ago: “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all deformity, and by these I shall not regulate my proportions; and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination Nature is imagination itself. As a man is, so he sees.”
And now for something topical
Two or three weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the “Tree Cathedral” near Dunstable. This is now National Trust owned and is very close to Whipsnade Zoo. It's story is quite simple. Three comrades fought together in the First World War. Two returned to Britain in 1918 having lost one of their friends. They decided to “build” a memorial to him so they planted this “cathedral” of trees. It's nave replicates that of St. Alban's Cathedral, having the longest nave of any European Cathedral and this is lined with limes, the chancel being of silver birches surrounded by a yew hedge. The transepts are yet different tree species as are the aisles, the cloisters, the lady chapel and representations of towers. This is a splendidly-conceived planting and yet another of our reminders that we must avoid further wars.
John Tuer (727642)
We have said goodbye to David Woodhouse, tree officer from Shropshire Council who has taken up a post in Wales, we would like to thank him as he has been most helpful to us in our tree planting around the town.
We would like to say thanks to Star Housing for planting a replacement tree on the corner of Queen St and Back Lane, it is most welcome as the felling of the two conifers left the corner rather bare.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) reports that there are now three strains of Elm which are resistant to Dutch Elm disease. They are; Ulmus 'New Horizon' distributed by Hillier's Nursery, Hampshire. Ulmus'Sapporo' Autumn Gold and Ulmus Lutece (Nanguen). Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could persuade a landowner in our town to plant elms.
New research shows that trees gather and hold airbourne pollution particulates on their leaves and bark until rain washes them away. RHS reseach shows that trees planted along roadsides or in gardens adjacent to roads have a definate effect on the air quality away from the road. Unsurprisingly the most effective is the tree we have a love/hate relationship with; the leylandii. Yew and other dense evergreens are effective and also large broadleaf trees. Any tree which will hold pollution in its leaves. So if you are involved in planning new development or moving to a new home next to a road, then get planting!
The government has set up a new Parks Action Group to bring about new strategies for joined up thinking to keep English parks thriving in the face of cuts, the group will include vaious bodies who are involved in the management of our parks. Or will it just be a talking shop?
There is some promising news about Ash die back a Forestry Commission study carried out by the John Innes Centre appears to be showing that the fungus responsible (hymenoscyphus fraxineus) is mutating to live alongside host ash trees without killing them. However there is still cause for concern and the work continues into developing resistent hybrids
The Tree Care Campaign, from March to September, calls to action all Tree Warden Networks (which the Much Wenlock Tree Forum is)and other community groups to care for trees already planted. Mulching, pruning, adjusting stakes and ties are crucial activities to ensure that trees reach maturity. We do our best but extra help is always welcome. If a new tree has been planted by you then please get out there with a watering can when the weather is dry.
Gone!! the pretty little prunus by the fire station on the corner of Bridge Road full of blossom in spring and gorgeous autumn colour. Please plant more trees wherever you can, they do not have to be large, but they can add such beauty and joy to our townscape.
Good news a few days later: A replacement for the lost prunus has been planted in the grounds of the fire station. Well done them and many thanks.
New planting, a small but perfectly formed amalanchier in St Owens Rd much to the delight of most residents. And a replacement for the lost liquidamber on Southfield Road.... we hope this one survives.
Is anyone interested in a bit of 'peoples'science. the Open University, supported by Natural England has started a web site www.treezilla.org.uk where we can record trees in our area. It is simple to use and the Tree Forum will be recording our new plantings. Something for the youngsters to be interest in. Check it out.
If you want more information on how to choose the right tree for Christmas then go to our Tree of the Season page for help from John Tuer.
More news on the Tesco tree planting scheme at the Old Cememtery; we have added further planting to complete the scheme with a mix of slow and fast growing species. 2 Taxus baccata (Yew), 1 acer campestre, 1 betula jacquemontii, 2 Pyrus chanticleer (flowering pear). One year on and these trees are doing well
Also the two crab apples; two decorative hawthorn varieties; and two amalanchiers, all now planted at the old cemetery with the help of the Caring for God's Acre volunteer team. All have blossomed beautifully this spring
I am sure most of you will be more knowledgable than me but I was somewhat alarmed to find that all of this year's acorn drop from the Coubertain Oak on the Gaskell Ground were distorted into unusual shapes, see below.
Fearing the worst I rang David Woodhouse at Shropshire Council for advice but he was able to assure me that the acorns are distorted as a result of an invasion of the Knopper Gall Wasp, a non native species, which whilst it does no harm to the tree it does prevent fertile acorns from being produced.
The Tree Forum have planted four thuja evergreen shrubs in the Town Council planters at the rear of the library, this is part of our efforts to 'green the grey', the town clerk has sent us her thanks for our contribution
Some readers may be unaware that members of the Tree Forum are also Tree Wardens for Much Wenlock. As such, we are sometimes called upon to respond to planning applications regarding trees. We carry out this responsibility with fairness, integrity, without predjudice, and with the best possible intentions for the wider environment in Much Wenlock.
John Tuer's latest column from the Wenlock Herald can be found on the Heritage Trees page as the Linden Avenue is its main topic
As published in the Wenlock Herald, March 2017
Firstly, some Thank Yous
I've waited until this month before thanking everyone who came along to help at our Cuan Wildlife Rescue planting, because I needed to tell you of the other things we've been up to at the same time to make, I hope, a more interesting piece.
So, a huge “thank you” to all those of you who turned up to help plant the Cuan hedge early in December. The weather was kind, the soil was soft and not stony and fifteen people came along to help. Everything was in our favour and we planted 500 trees in just two hours. So thank you from me and thank you from Anna of Cuan Wildlife who says “Thank you so much to you all for coming out...and planting the new hedge. Once it has matured I am sure it will be a beautiful hedge and be home to many creatures.....Please pass on our sincere thanks to all involved, it is very much appreciated.”
We shall finish the hedge by planting another 500 native British hedge trees next season.
Another “thank you”
The Town Council has very kindly given us a grant of £250 to plant more trees in town. So we have now planted four more trees on Southfield Road and one outside the toilets on Queen Street. The first four are two Sweet Gums (Styraciflua liquidambar “Worplesdon” and Styraciflua liquidambar “Stella”), a Ginkgo biloba and a cut-leaved Alder (Alnus glutinosa “Imperialis”). Southfield Road is becoming a true arboretum for the town. We do ask, please, if any residents from the road who live near the trees would care to throw a bucket of water over each of them, we would be very grateful. The Queen Street tree is a special pink-flowered hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata “Rosea Flore Pleno”, a double flowered specimen, and stands next to another very interesting and unusual tree planted by the Council fairly recently. Go and have a look and try to find out what it is. Answer next time I write.
We received this funding for the trees despite the Town Council having to spend its/your money very carefully and being asked for funding from so many directions. So a big “thank you” to the Council for recognising how trees can enhance the town and being prepared to help us do that for them.
What, another “thank you” ?
A few months ago, we heard that one of the street trees on Hunters Gate had died and we were asked to replace it. We waited throughout the summer season to see whether it managed to produce even a few leaves, but nothing. It was truly dead. So we replanted this red-flowered Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata “Paul's Scarlet”) in January with the knowledge and agreement of the County Council. The two ladies who live next to the tree very kindly agreed to pay for it and gave a donation to the Tree Forum at the same time. We thank them wholeheartedly for their generosity.
But let's end as we started on a pleasant note
The Shropshire Council has kindly given us three more trees (half-standards) to be planted in the old cemetery on the Bridgnorth road. By the time you read this, they will have already been planted. Our thanks to the Council. We are gradually helping the Friends of the Old Cemetery with their tree renewal scheme.
We welcome new members, you don't have to know anything about trees, you just have to appreciate them and be willing to work for the greater good of the future of trees in our town. Contact either myself, Lesley on 01952 728434 or John Tuer on 01952 727642
At our last meeting we discussed the loss of hedgerows in the landscape around the town. We felt that the time had come to remind us all how important retaining hedgerow can be to the environment. Birds need to nest, hedgehogs need to hide out during the day, insects need to feed, pollinate and lay eggs and we need so look at the beauty of blossom in the hedge in springtime. It also requires planning permission to remove more than 25 metres of hedgerow, perhaps not many people know that!
As a rememberance of Liz Thomas we have planted a Cornus Mas in the old cemetery, Bridgnorth Rd.
. Liz was a great supporter of planting and managing trees for the benefit of the landscape and well being of the community. She was a founder member of the Much Wenlock Tree Forum and her good sense in the conduct of our business will be much missed. Liz has left a lasting legacy in our community, she was a supporter of the arts and was responsible in large part for many of the art work pieces around our town, she was also one of the first to make a stand against large scale development. She will be much missed.
We apolgise to anyone who thought that we are a forum website in the sense that the website is open to all for conversation or posting, it is not. We welcome new members to attend our meetings or receive our meeting notes and news, if you are interested in helping with our activities please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tree Forum has also made itself into Much Wenlock Tree Forum Community Interest Company Limited, this allows us to have a registered Terms of Reference which can then be used as an aid for grant funding applications.
The committee decided that on closure of the Tree Forum any funds would be distributed locally to other environmental community groups and should there be unattributed funds left over they would go to the Woodland Trust as a registered charity.
We have also made two new plantings at the old cemetery, a Polylepsis Australis and an Abies alba.
Also good news! we have replaced the cretageous pruniflora on Havelock Crescent, hopefully this one will make it!
We live in a country town and whilst we are surrounded by trees in the countryside landscape during the last thirty to fourty years we have lost an enourmous amount of trees within the town itself. This is due to many different factors, one is development of spare land for dwellings, another reason is the aging and subsequent loss of trees which were part of the legacy of planting from the Victorian era, notably the enthusisam for tree planting by William Penny Brookes. The expansion of the built environment within the town brings with it smaller gardens and closer neighbours, tree owners are sometimes encouraged by close neighbours to cut down trees which they otherwise would not.
We are not alone in this dilema, we must plant for the future and replace those trees we cut down. The RHS and the Woodland Trust are now running campaigns to encourage garden tree planting, the same feature has been run on many of the televison garden programmes. There are many suitable trees which can be planted in the smallest of gardens to give shade, cut exposure to noise, dirt and wind and feed birds and insects. Garden centres can give good advice on what to plant.
In the meantime the Much Wenlock Tree Forum continues the work of William Penny Brookes to plant significant trees in commemoration of people and events within the townscape.
MUCH WENLOCK TOWN COUNCIL PLANNING COMMITTEE
Meeting Tuesday, 1st March 2016.
Martin Sutton (Shropshire County Arboriculturist) was invited by the Chair of the Much Wenlock Town Council Planning and Environment Committee, Cllr Mary Hill, to answer questions from the committee regarding trees. John Tuer, Tree Forum member, was present to record the session.
Q: What justifies placing a TPO on a tree ?
A: Any type of tree may have a TPO placed on it. Whether a TPO or not is determined by the amenity value of the tree – how a tree looks, its cultural and historical significance and if it has a character that contributes to its location.
Tree Officers will weigh up each tree on its merits and are more likely to consider trees under threat. Shropshire Council can turn a TPO round in a couple of hours.
Q: Have any trees at Pinefields, 40 High Street, got TPOs on them ?
A: I've placed a TPO on the large individual oak tree and a group of Corsican Pines because they add value to the site in what it contributes to the town. (This line of Pines is along the side of the Pinefields garden adjacent to the row of bungalows on High Causeway.) Parallel to them is a line of beech trees, These belong to the bungalow estate and not part of the Pinefields site. Some of these beeches are not in good condition but we need to give time to see what happens to them. One beech has been removed from the site because it was unsafe. In the past, there have been 20-30 Shetland ponies grazing on the site and these have caused some tree damage.
Q: What about replacement trees ? If a tree with a TPO is removed, does a replacement have to be planted ?
A: Yes, if the removal of the TPO tree is in contravention to the TPO. But the Tree Officers can demand a replacement otherwise. There is not an automatic requirement for a replacement.
Q: Back to the Pinefields site, what about the “5-day notice” ?
A: This applies to dangerous trees that cannot wait for the full period of the TPO or Conservation Area legislation. The Tree Officers have to visit the site urgently and give a decision within 5 days. But regarding the beeches on the Pinefields site, we are waiting to see what the next planning application requires. They are not so dangerous as to require the use of this part of the legislation.
Martin Sutton: The Tree Officers survey all trees along Shropshire highways on a 5-year cycle for safety purposes only.
Q. If a TPO is removed and is replaced, does the new tree automatically have a TPO ?
A: Only if it is part of the condition given for allowing the tree to be taken down.
Q : What about Felling Licences ?
A: These are administered by the Forestry Commission and restrict wholesale removal of trees. Only 5 cubic metres of trees may be felled within a calendar quarter unless more is allowed by a felling licence. If more than this is removed, the Forestry Commission need to be told and they will initiate an investigation.
Q: Can TPOs be placed on hedges ?
A: Only if a hedge can be described as a line of trees. Hedges are also judged on wildlife and archaeological criteria but a decision of whether or not to remove is not undertaken within TPO legislation.
Q: If a tree is removed in a Conservation Area, must it be replaced by a similar species ?
A: Conservation Area legislation gives no powers for the County Council to demand this. We can encourage it, and we often do, but we cannot insist upon it.
Q If a willow is severely pruned. Will it stand this ?
A: Yes, you can make a 20% crown reduction with no damage or threat to a willow. It will grow back.
The Bourton Tree Planting Project
Following our October contribution to the Herald, I received a number of telephone calls. Firstly, in response to my descriptions of the many interesting trees around town, a lady on Victoria Road called me to tell us about her prolifically-fruiting Perry Pear tree. I went to see it. It is an old tree and rather misshapen from its history of disease and weather damage and its need to have had tree surgery from time to time to restore it. But, despite its age, it was very healthy and, as I said, still providing a good crop of fruit. Not a particularly rare tree but not that common either, the owner had spent wisely in looking after the tree and it was paying her back handsomely. Sadly this tree cannot be seen by the general public as it is in a rear garden.
My other telephone calls were from Bourton residents who were very supportive of our plans to replace the horse chestnuts planted all those years ago to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. They were very happy to have them replaced with six Large-leaved Limes and for this planting to commemorate our present Queen's sixty years too.
So I visited Bourton to look at their suggested planting sites. One, particularly, is an ideal site if we would be allowed to plant there. It's on land belonging to Bourton Estates and I have been in touch with their agent who is supportive of our plans but needs to contact the owner for permission. This, he is doing on our behalf but the whole thing it taking just a little longer than I had hoped. I thought we might be able to plant later this planting season – I usually like to stop planting bare-rooted trees in the middle of March. So it might have to be a planting for 2016-17. However, if we do get the go-ahead, this would give us time to raise some funds for six wooden tree cages that we would have to build to protect the trees from horses. I'll keep you informed on progress with this but please cross your fingers for us.
John Tuer (01952 727642)
The Bourton Horse Chestnuts
In the past, probably in 1887, fifty horse chestnut trees were planted in Bourton to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Although this species of tree can live a long life, it is a tree that has suffered in many ways for generations. Currently, as you know, it is being “hit” by a number of pests and diseases but, even before this current wave of enemy action, having fairly weak wood, it has frequently lost large branches. It is not a native tree and was brought into Britain from the Balkans via France in 1612 or 1615. It has acclimatised readily and is at its most beautiful when in flower in May. Many of the Bourton chestnuts have died or become dangerous and have had to be taken down. The Tree Forum was asked to look at two specimens earlier this year but, sadly, had to recommend removal. One had completely died on one side; the other had much dead wood throughout its crown that, unless there could be remedial action at some expense, the tree wood die within the next few years. The County Tree Officers came to look and agreed with us to the extent that permission has been given to fell these two trees. This leaves, I think, three trees remaining of the original fifty.
So can we replace them ? And should we replace them with Horse Chestnuts ? The answer is 'Yes' to the former with a definite 'No' to the latter. Let's look at a replacement species first. We have discussed this in the Tree Forum and I have suggested replanting with Large-leaved Limes. You will remember that I have found many of these trees on the Edge. They grow well in this locality and especially on the limestone, so much so that our area has become nationally known for this particular native species of lime. There seems to be general agreement in the Forum that this would be a good replacement species.
So can we replace them ? The answer must lie in the answers to two further questions. Can we afford to replace them and, if so, where could they be planted ? The first is easily solved. We could replant with 6 trees instead of 50, one for each of the six decades of Victoria's reign and why leave it there ? Why not include our present Queen in the planting ? We could plant six trees to represent and commemorate the sixty year's reign of both Queens, and the Severn Tree Trust has generously offered to fund this planting. So we have the money. So what about the location ? Now this is where we need the help of the people of Bourton. If you live in Bourton and you're reading this, please please say 'Yes' to having replacement trees. Now put on your thinking caps and please tell us where we can plant six Limes equally spaced. Are you a farmer ? Could you allow a piece of your land along the roadside so they could be seen ? Are you a landowner ? The same question applies. Are you a resident with very little land ? Could you ask your neighbours, your friends in the village, all the people you know who might be able to help. Any ideas and please let the Tree Forum know. My telephone number is below.
When we find a site, the Tree Forum will help the Severn Tree Trust to plant these as bare-rooted trees by the end of next autumn/winter season.
Much Wenlock: Town of Trees
We would like to read this as “Much Wenlock: The Town of Trees” not as “A town of trees” as we have so many trees of great interest in our town. You will already know of the many trees of a great many species that have been planted by Dr. William Penny Brookes and the Wenlock Olympian Society. But what about you, Mister or Misses ordinary citizen ? You have so many interesting and unusual species planted in your gardens that the gardens of our town make for a lively and vibrant arboretum in their own right. You'll be aware of the wonderful Walnut tree on Barrrow Street with its Tree Preservation Order to allow it to continue for years to give presence to the centre of town. Just continue along the street to opposite where the Catholic Church stood. You'll find a group of Coast Redwoods, the species that includes the tallest tree in the world in its native Oregon. Our town has not one, but six, Wellingtonias, the Sierra Redwood. Not many towns can boast of one let along this many. And what about the Holm Oak, the Evergreen Oak, that magnificent specimen at the junction of Victoria and Bourton Roads ? Go along Race- course Lane and you'll find not just an ordinary Tulip Tree - you'll find two of those in the Gaskell Grounds – but a variegated form of this species. How superb that someone chose to plant this rather than a plain and ordinary specimen. On Sheinton Street, between to two arms of Station Road, you'll find a Whitebeam, but this, too, is no ordinary one. This is the Tibetan Whitebeam (Sorbus thibetica 'John Mitchell' ) with its huge leaves that hang over onto the pavement, again, making a big statement within the confines of the town. I could go on. Perhaps I'll tell you of more next time. But, in the meantime, let me say that one of the
There is a really good article to read on flood prevention at the www.farming.co.uk web site, the link is on our Flood Prevention page
We are really pleased to report that the WW1 Commemmorative tree has produced new blossom and is doing well !The forget me nots have now finished and gone to seed for next year and we have planted Thyme for 'Strength and Courage'. Do go and look.
The link to the dedication event has kindly been provided by Virtual Shropshire who made the film of the event