The End of the Line for a Blashford Giant

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.

The Ellingham Drove Oak

The Ellingham Drove Oak


3 thoughts on “The End of the Line for a Blashford Giant

  1. Is there no way of stopping people from parking under this tree as an alternative to killing it please?

    Margaret Phillpotts

  2. We have tried to stop parking with signs etc. and lobbying HCC who own the verge, but with no success. The real problem is that large parts of it will fall into the road, as the last bit that fell off did. The advice we have is that it is at great risk of falling apart soon so we cannot take the risk of leaving it any longer. It is dying quite quickly and we will keep as much of the lower trunk as possible.

  3. Unfortunately not – we have been trying to do so unsuccessfully ever since opening the footpaths and hides! However, even were we able to do so the risk of a potentially very serious injury to both pedestrians visiting the reserve and/or to drivers of vehicles along the Drove is considered to be too great to leave the tree as it is. Regular visitors will no doubt have noticed the very large bracket fungi it supports which are indicative of the tree’s death and collapse anyway – the contractor will just be speeding up the inevitable in a safe and controlled manner and as much of the lower trunk will be left as is possible… Who knows, it is an old pollard and it may even re pollard and produce some new growth before succumbing to the fungus.

    No one is sadder to see it go than the staff… It is a real feature of the reserve boundary and will be greatly missed.

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