It wasn’t so long ago that the residents of Westover’s Hamp Green Rise boasted the most magnificent avenue of Cherry Trees in the town. Then suddenly an inspection by County Council saw almost all condemned to the axe due to some disease and of course with no chance of replacement as County ‘stopped funding that sort of thing’ in its general quest to stop funding almost ‘any’ kind of thing. Residents were not happy and kicked off big time with a petition and a campaign to ‘stop the rot’-or at least stop the wholesale destruction of trees without replacements. Bridgwater Town Council stepped in, drew a line and set up a tree replacement fund. After a series of summit meetings, voting through a funding policy and quite a long time coming, the trees are back in Hamp Green Rise, funded by Bridgwater Town Council, planted by Clean Surroundings and tended by the residents. “Perfect team work” says Town Council Leader Brian Smedley (Westover) “Now we intend to roll out the scheme across the town and inspire and encourage people to take an interest in their trees, identify areas of need, set up tree support groups and apply for some funding.”
The five new trees in Hamp Green Rise were planted on 17th December by Clean Surroundings with all the features needed for their nurture. Water feed pipes, wooden frame supports and strappings. Community Portfolio Holder and Deputy Town Council Leader Cllr Kathy Pearce (Westover) visited the site today and (as a horticulturalist) inspected the planting giving it her thumbs up. “They are fine Cherry Trees, well planted, which will provide beautiful blossom in the spring.”
Town ‘Treeflet’ now available
Also this week, Bridgwater Town Council has brought out a ‘Treeflet’ – a small booklet which replaces the town guide this year and instead takes you on a history tour of the town tree by tree. The booklet has been written by Brian Smedley and historian Miles Kerr-Peterson with specialist tree content by horticultural adviser Roy Cheek and evocative photography by Terence Peppin. Cllr Smedley says ” There are 50 different trees in this book and you can follow a history trail around the town tree by tree learning about not just the fascinating history of our town but also about the trees themselves. In a year when there isn’t going to be much travel in or out of the area it’s a good staycation-treecation option for you. Pick one up now and pop it in someones Christmas stocking why don’t you!”
The guide can be picked up from the Town Hall or from a couple of shops in town – currently The Sweetbox on Cornhill and Cornhill Records in the Market -but will be more widely available in the new year. People can obtain a Treeflet for a small donation to the ‘Tree Fund’ thus converting paper back to trees.
Trees are People Too
Climate Change Portfolio Holder Cllr Li Gibson (Westover) says “Humans and trees are both part of the rich biodiversity of our planet. Humans would not exist without trees, and a trees survival is dependent on human activity. Tree numbers and habitat loss is a major reason for all species decline, both in the plant and animal worlds. For example, an Oak tree can support 2,300 different life species, 326 of them being dependent upon that Oak tree. The more biodiverse an area is the healthier an areas wildlife ecosystem is. Climate warming is due to an overload of carbon and other human activity gases into the atmosphere. The systems that usually balance these can no longer cope. Trees take in the carbon and capture it and lock it into its roots, branches, shoots, and leaves. Then the tree gives us back our clean air we breathe. The tree root structure locks soils and mud into place which helps prevent flooding. Apart from the trees’ great ancestral presence, they link our earth with the sky, provide shelter, energy, food and bring beauty to our lives. It is vitally important that we take great care of our existing trees and help by planting many more. Everyone should plant and grow a tree for our future and the continued survival of our planet. Let’s see Bridgwater blossom! “
You can apply to the Tree Fund by Contacting Town Clerk, David Mears at Bridgwater Town Council email;- email@example.com or phone;- 01278 427692