..and did it!
Unlike 1987 we were both well informed and well prepared for the storm that swept through the UK during the last weekend of October. It was pretty powerful and wind speeds in the South East were recorded as being in excess of 90mph. A very different picture to the one that I caught on the Friday before...
|The calm before the storm|
The scene that greeted Richard, Sheila and Anthony on the following Monday was not as bad as it could have been and although Anthony's gazebo was tossed aside like an old rag the vine house stayed up.
Sadly, on a more serious note we did suffer a fair amount of damage to some of our significant specimen trees. Our beautiful Magnolia × loebneri 'Leonard Messel' by the Ha Ha had its central stem torn out. Our most prominent Tulip tree also had its top ripped off and there was similar damage to a number of other trees. Here you can see how a young Beech tree has had its canopy snapped off:
|A small Beech tree by the West Glade|
The wind seemed to seek out any structural weakness and exploited areas of decay. I was particularly worried about a couple of our old giants, the Lime at the top crossroads and the Beech by the Ice House. Thankfully they laughed this storm off as nothing more than a puff of insignificant air. Overstood coppice is always prone to failure and never more so than when on muddy river banks. This is why the Spring Walk is currently closed off, we'll be clearing this as soon as possible.
|Anthony examining a fallen Alder coppice stool|
|Anthony again tidying up a Willow after it received a bit of a battering|
For safety reasons we've also had to remove a Larch and a Birch that were partially uprooted and leaning heavily. This twin stemmed Pine being surveyed by Richard is also destined for the Bothy fireplace.
Our Ranger colleagues encountered a similar picture on the estate with some significant damage to an old Beech pollard amongst other things. However, all in all things were not as bad as they could have been and thanks to a speedy response from the team (special thanks to Anthony for putting aside his rotavator to take up a chainsaw and rejoin the old team) the tidy up is almost complete.
Despite the high winds there is still Autumn colour to admire and the Autumn Tree Trail will continue to run until all the leaves are gone. So, we hope to see you soon before our season draws to a close.
P.S. The title of this blog is a line from an old English folk song called "The Unquiet Grave" from c.1400.