|Waterville Ash Tree.|
How we'll all miss it when it's gone.
The end. The last of the ash tree was carefully and skilfully removed by the city council contractors today. Just look at the girth of that trunk. A young oak tree has been planted next to it which will watch over the people of Waterville for centuries to come.
UPDATE Friday 1st December 2017
I appeared live on BBC Radio Cambs at the foot of the tree (at 7am!) to talk about why trees like the Waterville Ash are so important for Peterborough.
UPDATE Wednesday 11th October 2017
Some wonderful news and some sad news.
Let's deal with the sad news first. The branches have now been removed from the tree and it now looks like this. The gloomy sky says it all.
|It's very hard to look at this without feeling emotional.|
Peterborough Green Party Chairman Roger Proudfoot's photograph has won the Peterborough Environment City Trust's (PECT) 'iconic trees' photography competition. Roger's wonderful photograph of the tree in all its magnificence will be framed and placed somewhere for the public to enjoy for years to come.
|Award-winning photo by Roger Proudfoot|
UPDATE Monday 9th October 2017
The tree will be felled today. The city council and the parish council acknowledge how much this iconic tree means to local people. After 4:30pm today (NO EARLIER) residents are welcome to visit the site to collect a piece of felled wood as a memento of this historic tree. Only the crown (the branches) will be removed. The trunk will be left as a monolith while the parish council decides what to do with is after consultation with local residents.
I nipped down there earlier and collected a piece of a branch that was taken down today.
|I counted roughly 110 rings.|
|If the branch is 110 years old the whole tree must be at least 300 years old.|
|Residents are welcome to visit the site after 4:30pm daily and take a piece of wood away as a souvenir.|
It's something of an icon in Orton Waterville. So we were all really sad to be told that our beautiful, cherished ash tree, that is somewhere in the region of 300-650 years old, is due to be felled. Not only is the tree old, it has become diseased, and its close proximity to traffic on the corner of Oundle Road and Cherry Orton Road means it cannot be left to stand where it poses a risk to human life.
Everyone who lives in or passes through Orton Waterville will be familiar with this tree. Residents born here have known it all their lives, as did generations before them. It's possible the tree was here when Henry VIII was a lad.
|The fungus that has destroyed the ash is plain for all to see.|
Having listened very carefully to the opinion of Peterborough City Council's Tree Officer we understand that the tree is now in its last days and that nothing can be done to reverse its decline. Rotten branches could fall at any time, while the fungus at the tree's roots has caused enormous damage to its structure.
On Wednesday 23rd August 2017, a group of Peterborough Green Party members, parish councillors and local residents gathered to say farewell to this mighty ash tree.
Farewell Waterville Ash
Posted by Julie Howell on Wednesday, 23 August 2017
Like many of you, while we accept that the tree will be taken down, we are concerned that the wood is used in a way that benefits the local community and we also hope that a suitable, mature tree is planted in its place.
If you would like to add your voice to ours, let the city council know what you would like to happen to the wood (note that ash isn't suitable for outdoor furniture) by contacting the council at email@example.com or call 01733 425 425.
Video transcript: Julie Howell: We're at the site of a beautiful tree in Orton Waterville in Peterborough with members of Peterborough Green Party and also other parish councillors and friends who love this tree. The reason we’re here is to support the Woodland Trust which has a fundraising initiative called Invite a Tree to Tea and it was very obvious to us which tree to choose because this beautiful ash tree in Orton Waterville is much loved and sadly it’s come to the end of its life. So we gather here today to celebrate it. We accept that it has to go but it’s a good opportunity to talk about the tree. If I just give you a glimpse of the tree you'll see it’s an absolute beauty. As you can see there are birds up in the tree. As you can also see it’s near a very busy main road which is one of the reasons why it’s deemed a problem now that it’s in trouble. It’s one of those things, isn’t it… it wouldn’t be the cultural icon that it is if it was in the middle of nowhere but because it’s by a road it poses dangers now that it’s in trouble. Local people were meant to be alerted to the problem by this tiny little sign that no one could read so now this new sign has been put up to warn everyone that the tree’s removal is imminent. I’m going to have a chat with a few people about what’s happening with the tree and what it means to them. Peterborough has ambitions to be an ‘environmental city’ and the Peterborough Environmental City Trust (PECT) has planted a ‘Forest of Peterborough’ and is just about to plant its 100,000th tree in Peterborough and is asking for photos of iconic trees. What a shame this is one that is about to go. Local residents I’ve spoken to are concerned that it’s replaced with something just as iconic and beautiful. So now it’s come to the end of its life I’d like to talk to a couple of local residents about how they feel about the tree. The first person I’ll speak to is Neil Mitchell and Neil is a local historian in Peterborough. Neil, what do you know about this tree?