Read about the life and work of the Attingham Wardens

Attingham Park is a National Trust property comprising of an 18th Century mansion set in a Repton landscape; the Park and wider Estate includes a deer park, walled garden, several miles of the rivers Severn and Tern, extensive farmland and woodlands.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Farewell, copper beech

Farewell to one of our copper beech trees

Tomorrow we have the job of felling one of the beautiful copper beeches that you can see near the Clock Tower at the rear of the Mansion. This tree has been carefully monitored for many years as it has a structural fault in it; work has been carried out on it to aid it's stability over the years, included wire braces to help the tree to support its own weight and a reduction in the canopy to reduce the 'sail' quality. However, there are now signs of decay within the stem (leaking fluid and Ganoderma bracket fungus on both sides) and after consultation with an external tree expert, our fears were confirmed - for the safety of everyone at Attingham, this tree needs to come down. It is always a difficult decision - the tree could stand there happily for another 30 years BUT there is also a heightened risk of it failing and its position next to a main path in such a busy place as Attingham means that we cannot risk someone coming to harm. There is some small comfort in this one coming down - as well as ensuring no one can be hurt by it, it will open up the area for the other beeches to expand into and for future plantings. We will be closing access to the rear of the Mansion for a day while the tree is taken down piece by piece but expect the path to reopen by the end of the day.

Close up of copper beech leaves
Last week saw some important tree work being carried out at Sunnycroft, our sister property just down the road in Wellington. A cherrypicker was hired to allow our tree surgeons (capably driven by Harper student Ben) to travel to the tops of the wonderful wellingtonias that line the drive up to the house, cutting out dead branches and tidying up. The cutting back of a branch on another tree has been postponed as a bird is currently nesting right on the end of it, so we will return later on in the year.

Several days ago Senior warden Colin heard the cuckoo calling again and as he listened the cuckoo changed his call - the old poem is right!
                                                        The cuckoo comes in April
                                                        He sings his song in May
                                                        Then in June he changes his tune
                                                        And in July he flies away

Between the thunderstorms and downpours I have been nipping out to some of our ponds to watch the progress of some of our wildlife and this morning spotted a duck with three chicks and the first Emperor dragonfly on the pond in the Mile Meadow. We are also keeping a careful eye on the deer park as the fawns will begin to appear any day now. I know I repeat it a lot, but it is super important that fawns are not approached or touched in any way and that dogs are kept well away - so please keep to the paths! If you are lucky enough to spot a fawn, please let me know. The bucks look fantastic at the moment with their antlers in velvet and full summer coats, so bring your camera next time you are here for a walk in the park, you never know where they might be sunning themselves near a path.

Mr Toad was found recently by a temporary log pile and relocated to a more permanent residence near the Mile Walk

Damselflies mating by the Mile Meadow pond

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