Archive for March, 2010

Tree Team Work by Ben Jones

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Along with planting this time of year, we also remove trees deemed to be hazardous. Although it is always sad to see these large trees come down, it is part of the ongoing management cycle of any collection.

If Westonbirt was managed from the point of view of preservation, there would be nothing left in the years to come. Sad as it is to remove these large, beautiful trees, it is only part of a wider picture.
Timber generated from the hazardous tree removals will be utilised in a number of ways, from Sculptree, second Sunday wood sales, firewood that you can buy at our plant centre to projects such as the Silk Wood barn.
The tree we dismantled is a Monterey Pine, Pinus radiata, (introduced by David Douglas in the mid 19th century). This tree was condemned in the hazardous tree inspections in the autumn. The decision was made based on;

• Annual visitor numbers of approx 350,000 – safety of public is paramount.
• The period of time we have known that the tree has had a pathogen called Phaeolus schweinitzii, (a brown rot fungi that degrades the cellulose).
• Known structural defects – large compressed fork, combined with the fact that the stems had previously been cable braced.

As you can hopefully see, the decision to remove these trees is NOT taken lightly. It is always a shame to see them go, but you will be pleasantly surprised, should you visit the site of this tree, off Broad Drive, in a year or two’s time, to see what beautiful plants have been planted to continue the cycle.

Read more of Ben’s blogs

Comparing Walkways by Sophie Nash

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Hi I’m Sophie and the Project Support Officer for the Westonbirt Project. I’ve been here since the end of January and it’s whizzed by! I previously worked in as an architectural assistant in Bath working on a wide range of projects, so it’s been quite interesting sitting on the opposite side of the fence!

Recently I have been researching other similar attractions across the country. This will provide us with valuable information on visitor numbers and the impact a new feature, like the the walkway has on a site.
A group of us recently visited Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire, which is a Forestry Commission site that opened a walkway and viewing platform in 2006.
The walkway is 300 metres in length and rises up to 15 metres in height with an additional tower to take you up to the top of the tree canopy. Its basic oak board construction means it blends softly into the trees and landscape.
It was great to experience how high our walkway and tower will be compared to Salcey’s and to understand areas which we can learn from to make a really enjoyable visitors experience for all who venture up the Heritage Vantage Point!