Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Trees in Spring but for how long for the Ash of the Mendips

 On our walk this week, I retraced the steps of a walk taken with my Geology Group, wanting to show Mr S a particularly lovely little valley. All of this is no further than two miles away from home.

Just beyond the last houses along Reservoire Lane, an old original boundary was engulfed by encroaching trees.  From small saplings growing upwards, after many years, the iron railings  are mere 'piercings' with the railings now going through the middle of the left tree, with the bark of the other two slowly growing over the railings. The trees are now holding up the rusting railings. 

Wide spreading Oak Tree

With leaves just about to burst, it was the shape of the trees, lit by clear bright spring sunshine, that brought me the greatest joy. 

For now but for how much longer, we must enjoy the silhouettes of Ash Trees.  Tens of thousands are being felled, and it causes me anguish when I see all the stumps along the lanes and roads.  The very sound of the saws all around the hills, over the last few months has been their death knell . Will it stop now we are in the nesting season?  Will this be but a temporary respite? I really do hope that trees away from roads and paths, and on private land will have some sort of reprieve, if only they could stand a while, who knows, they may survive, and scatter their seed.  But whom am I to judge whether the science is correct, and whether actions to remove all the trees, or leave some will be the right action.   I really think that many healthy Ash Trees have been felled, simply as a convenience cutting long banks along the roads, rather than just the odd tree which is damaged.  Returning in five or ten years was not considered, and it does not look as if any replanting is taking place at the moment, Time will tell. I can just recall the loss of the Elm Trees from the English Landscape....

Mr S and I have vowed to return as often as possible to our little grass covered and Ashy Dell, with its cool limestone stream,  as often as we can.  There was mention of a picnique, book reading and gazing into tree tops...

RIP Mendip Ash.........


  1. Lovely photos and some great views!

    I think you're probably right about many healthy trees being felled. On a more positive note about Ash dieback: the ash tree population contains a lot more genetic diversity than Elms did. I think that bodes well for the species as a whole. The problem with Elms where that they largely grew from the roots of existing trees rather than seed. As a result there was little genetic variation, making them all the more vulnerable to Dutch elm disease.

    Hopefully it will be a different story with Ash trees!

    1. You've given me hope. Here I notice there is quite a difference between 'populations' of Ash, with different shape and alignment of branches etc. I ought to keep up to date and be more informed. I'll read my SWL and hopefully the local Wildlife Trust will have lectures on the topic in the coming months.

  2. It would indeed be a shame of healthy trees were felled too

    1. They have been doing for certain. I think the attitude is get on and get them down, they will succumb eventually. Sad though.