Most regular visitors to Blashford Lakes will have noticed the huge oak tree on the roadside by the gate to the Goosander hide. For some time we have worried about the number of people that park under the massive, spreading branches, especially as it has shed at least two in recent years. An assessment of its health suggests that it is at imminent risk of falling apart and so, very reluctantly, we have decided to take action to make it safe. Sadly this will involve reducing it to a tall stump, almost certainly meaning that this grand tree will be no more, at least as a living thing.
Britain has the largest number of ancient trees and especially oak trees, in Europe, recognition of this fact has led to them being much better appreciated for the wonderful habitat they are. This tree is certainly old and we are sad to lose it, although we will be keeping the lower part of the trunk which will remain as valuable habitat for lots of creatures as it slowly rots away. On the reserve in general we aim to keep as many trees as possible even when they are dying or dead, but always with regard to what is safe for our visitors.
Weather permitting it is planned to do the work on this tree next week, so there will be restrictions to access across Ellingham Drove, which will mean the Goosander and Lawing hide will be inaccessible. There will also be some restrictions to traffic along the Drove. At present the most likely day for doing the work looks like being Tuesday.