Clear up after Arwen 

By Lucy Saunders 

The fall-out from Storm Arwen continues as the extent of the impact becomes more apparent. This was a major storm. The arborists in my area are all fully booked for the next four months just dealing with the clear-up work. 

As I have travelled the area, I have been looking for the silver lining. One element that is becoming apparent is where trees have fallen in woodland settings, the woodland floor has been opened up, providing an opportunity for wildlife to flourish. Also, by leaving dead wood present on the woodland floor rather than tidying it up, there is opportunity for habitat creation. 

There are two properties in Windermere where the loss of trees has resulted in lost vistas being opened up, providing amazing views. 

Tree health has been high on the agenda in recent times for tree managers. We have become increasingly aware of the impact of tree disease on the tree population. There is a group of particularly nasty water-borne diseases in a family called Phytophtora. This family includes the disease that causes Bleeding Canker in Horse Chestnut and has been affecting many Larch. They often enter a tree through the roots and then kill the bark. They can be a serious problem. 

Phytophtora pluvialis was identified in the UK during 2021, and I spotted evidence of it here in The Lakes before Christmas. It especially attacks Fir and Spruce. Its presence makes protecting woodlands and raising awareness of bio security all the more important. I emphasise to visitors the need to clean boots and to be generally aware. 

Education is important, and I am delighted that we are going to be running a programme in one of the local woodlands in March, focusing on green wood work. This involves using freshly cut wood such as Hazel, to make poles, crafts etc. The project is being run with Furness College and is especially focused on those from poorer backgrounds who might not have the opportunity otherwise. 

Finally, I have a particular fondness for Yew trees. I like their shape, form, resilience and longevity. I find it personally quite rewarding when I get the opportunity to protect one via a Tree Preservation Order, to ensure it is protected for the future. There is a local trend towards people extending their homes rather than moving, and a number of applications are being process for sites where Yew trees are involved. Coincidentally, I have had six requests in recent months, all involving Yew trees. 

Lucy Saunders, Tree Officer for Lake District National Park, takes a breather


[vc_single_image image=”2275″ img_size=”full” title=” The woodland floor provides an opportunity for wildlife to flo”]
[vc_single_image image=”2277″ img_size=”full” title=”Lucy Saunders, Tree Officer for Lake District National Park, takes a breather”]
[vc_single_image image=”2274″ img_size=”full” title=”Amazing lost vistas have opened up as a result of Storm A”]
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