Tree Works at Wandlebury, January 2017
Visitors to Wandlebury will notice some tree works in the park this winter and during successive winters. The Board and management of CambridgePPF would like to reassure visitors that we are managing the vegetation to increase wildlife diversity, ecological connectivity and resilience, while also taking care of our Scheduled Ancient Monuments and the safety of people enjoying the park.
The Board has made a policy decision to retain a healthy tree cover on both Wandlebury Ring and Wormwood Hill Tumulus. In other areas we are trialling the restoration of coppicing to create a healthier cycle of woodland growth.
CambridgePPF has worked closely with Natural England and Historic England on these management actions and on the monitoring that will allow us to track their impact and adapt our management year on year. We will report regularly on progress directly to our membership and will also post updates on our website: www.cambridgeppf.org
CambridgePPF works to keep Cambridge special, both through the land it manages and through championing green spaces and heritage within planning processes for greater Cambridgeshire. Please consider joining us – membership leaflets are available from the foyer by the office or you can join through our web site. Welcome!
Q- Why are the tree works necessary?
A- The trees are decaying (rotten) and could fall down or lose branches, causing an injury or damage.
Our Estate Manager has reviewed woodland habitats across the park during the second half of 2016. In particular, a survey of the trees on the Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) of Wandlebury Ring and Wormwood Hill was undertaken to address specific issues of health & safety, ecological benefits and the long-term integrity of the SAMs. The survey highlighted a number of issues with the trees including overstocking, resulting in poor and unstable form and some of the over mature trees, primarily Beech, have been colonised by decay pathogens (disease) which often leads to structural weakness and eventual failure. Evidence of past tree failures causing uprooting is clear and, in some cases, is damaging the SAMs.
Q– How many trees will be affected?
A- In 2016 a total of 75 trees were surveyed around the Ring and Wormwood Hill. Of those 75 trees 14 were deemed unsafe for a number of reasons including major deadwood, crown dieback and stem decay ultimately leading to the failure of the tree. A further 5 trees will be “resistograph” tested which will provide further information on the state of decay within the tree itself, which is not visible externally. With this information, a decision will be made whether they are safe and if not whether they need removal or can be made safe by taking remedial action such as crown reductions.
The remaining trees will be inspected and any deadwood or branches that are deemed a public risk will be removed. This work will benefit the remaining trees, helping to safeguard their future and CambridgePPFs policy of retaining a healthy tree covered Ring.
Q- What tree works will actually take place?
A- Some trees will be felled and others will be cut back.
We have highlighted trees where remedial action is required including priority 1 trees, which require immediate action to fulfil liability under duty of care, and priority 2 which require action within 12 months to fulfil duty of care obligations. Our plan is to reduce the number of poor quality self-set trees and to reduce the density of the Beech by removing those damaged by squirrels and with decay pathogens but retaining those trees with better form.
Q– Will any areas of the Park be closed to visitors?
A- Unfortunately yes. In the interest of public safety certain sections of footpath around the Ring and Wormwood Hill will need to be closed. The areas that are closed will be varying each day and will be taped off with notices erected. The works are scheduled to take approximately two weeks with the aim of causing as little disruption as possible.
Q– Will it change how the Park looks?
A- The trees to be worked on are spread out so the visual impact should be minimal. There will be some changes as re-growth occurs and ground vegetation develops and we will be monitoring this over time.
Q– Does CambridgePPF need permission to do the tree work?
A- Yes. Permission has been given by the Forestry Commission. The Forestry Commission is the Government Department responsible for forestry in Great Britain. It protects Britain’s forests and encourages good forestry practice by setting standards, giving advice, providing information and by offering grants for expanding, regenerating and managing forests and woodlands. It also controls the felling of trees and issues felling licences. CambridgePPF have also worked closely with other partners including Historic England and Natural England, both of whom support this work.
Q- When will the tree work be carried out?
A- The tree works will commence on 9 January, 2017 which is consistent with the time of year when the cutting back of deciduous trees is best carried out. Once trees are no longer in leaf it is easier to examine them. We hope the work will be completed by 20 January.
Q- Will these works affect wildlife?
A- Undertaking tree works during winter causes least disturbance to wildlife as there are no nesting birds. A comprehensive bat survey has been carried out and there was no evidence of bats using the trees that will be worked on.
Our partners on this project, the Forestry Commission and Natural England have both confirmed that the works proposed will not only improve the safety aspect of the trees but also enhance the biodiversity potential of the Ring and Wormwood Hill. This has been re-enforced by surveys CambridgePPF has commissioned. The works planned will be of benefit to numerous species, including bats, by improving their foraging and commuting habitats. The increase in light reaching the ground will also enhance ground flora which in turn will benefit nectar loving species such as bees and butterflies and improve habitat connectivity around the Country Park as a whole.
CambridgePPF really likes bats and we will be placing a number of bat boxes on trees around the Ring to enhance the potential for bats roosting in the area.
Q- Who have we contracted to undertake the work?
A- CambridgePPF placed the tree works out to competitive tender and have selected a contractor to undertake the works; Maydencroft Rural, are an ARB Approved Contractor (ArbAC) and are ISO 14001 accredited. They will be required to operate to BS 3998:2010 Recommendations for Tree Work.
Q- How will you measure the impact on wildlife and habitats?
A- CambridgePPF has set up an ecological monitoring programme over the past year, which has collated existing data and started to fill gaps in our knowledge of particular species and habitats. We have set up new monitoring protocols, working with a range of outside experts and volunteers, coordinated by our staff. We will be monitoring the impact of each season’s tree works and adjusting our management actions accordingly. We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have given freely of their knowledge and time as we upgrade our monitoring programme and look forward to working with them over successive seasons.
CambridgePPF Office: 01223243830
Arboricultural Association– for more information on the Arboricultural Association http://www.trees.org.uk/Accreditation.
Forestry Commission– You can find more information about felling licences in the Forestry Commission’s booklet Tree Felling – getting permission www.forestry.gov.uk
Natural England- https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england
Historic England- https://www.historicengland.org.uk/