Essential tree works at Wandlebury Country Park – in the New Year

11th Nov 2015

Visitors to Wandlebury Country Park may notice that Cambridge Past, Present & Future (CambridgePPF) – the charity that owns and manages the estate – is about to commence some essential tree management work. This work is a health and safety requirement. In an annual survey of our woodlands we identified some specific trees which have the potential to be a serious threat to visitors to the Park, as well as cyclists, motorists and walkers along the A1307. We consulted with the South Cambridgeshire District Council Tree Officer and independent tree surveyor, Forbes-Laird Arboricultural Consultancy, both of whom have confirmed that some 60 individual trees do pose a risk.

We have a responsibility to the visiting public, our members, those who live and work in the Park and users of the A1307 whether walkers, cyclists or motorists to undertake an annual survey as part of our duty of care role as the guardians of a public site such as Wandlebury. We take this role very seriously.

As a result for approximately four weeks – professional contractors, from Anglia Tree Contractors, will be on site commencing remedial work on a number of Beech trees. These are located alongside the A1307 to the south of the Wandlebury Country Park main entrance. With around 2000 trees in close proximity to the edge of the park and the cycleway this number represents only a tiny percentage of all the trees in this vicinity.

Sadly these Beech trees are clearly overhanging and leaning towards the cycle path and road, which is not ideal. Their roots have undoubtedly been disturbed by the construction of the cycle path. They all have considerable decay and voids in their trunks, due to fungal invasion, which can leave them substantially weakened and liable to blow down in winter gales.

As the responsible landowner of a public place, CambridgePPF has a duty to manage the properties that it owns in a proactive way, ensuring that they are safe for local people to enjoy and are cared for in a way that safeguards their special qualities for future generations. So how are CambridgePPF going to do this?

Firstly Forbes-Laird who are independent tree surveyors has examined all the trees alongside the A1307 and graded the first trees to be dealt with as having grade 4 and 5 threat levels out of a maximum score of 7. This level of grading means that remedial work must be carried out within one to three months. This work will involve the creation of habitat ‘poles’ – hollow tree trunks remain which provide homes for wildlife, or the felling of ten trees with work to a further fifty trees to follow. This work will be arranged to avoid disturbance to the wildlife that use these trees for roosts and nests. Other trees along the road side will have branches trimmed so they are better balanced.

Secondly, and of equal importance, we have undertaken an independent bat survey, conducted by an experienced surveyor who has carried out both ground level and aerial inspections for bat roosts. This will be repeated during the remedial work, by JDEcology Ltd to avoid disturbance.

While the work is being carried out, the CambridgePPF team asks all visitors to Wandlebury to take careful note of the signs clearly displayed in the park and please stay out of any cordoned off areas. This advice is for the safety of everyone during such work. We anticipate that the road, the A1307, will be partially closed for the works.

Wandlebury Country Park has more than 8-miles of meandering footpaths for people to enjoy over its 110 acres (40ha) which will remain open during the operations. Since 2013 the site has won the prestigious Green Flag award each year – an accolade that recognises and rewards the owners of the best parks and green spaces in the country.

Anyone with any questions about the work should contact the Head of Properties and Green Spaces for more information: 01223 243830.


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