Reinvigorated willows and flowering Deptford Pinks

Reinvigorated willows and flowering Deptford Pinks
August 6, 2015 Adrian Walters

The end of July proved to be disappointingly cool and very wet for those wishing to get outside but the rain was much needed and has done wonders for reviving the grass for the cattle. With the annual thistle topping now completed the cattle can eat off all the pastures right into the autumn and leave them in good order.

Management work to trees carried out during the late winter always proves beneficial and particularly so to our many pollard trees. However, it seems quite impossible to impress upon people the benefits and traditions of managing pollard trees. Pollards used to be an essential part of the countryside which is why they have been put back into the riverside landscape. The charity’s countryside management is all about tradition and conservation even if modern methods are employed and it is always a very great pity when people become needlessly upset about the management that the charity carries out. It is not possible to reach out to everyone but concerned individuals can always contact the charity or speak to the rangers.

Back in the early spring the centenary willows, marking the first hundred years of the charity, were repollarded. Following this work a volunteer ranger came across a very distraught lady hugging one of the pollarded trees and apologizing to it for the supposedly brutal treatment meted out to it. Clearly she had no concept or appreciation of this ancient management technique which, instead of sealing the fate of the tree, actually rejuvenates and revitalises the it so that it will live considerably longer than if it were left to complete its natural cycle of growth and decay. By the end of July the trees had already put over two metres of fresh growth and they really do add something to the landscape.

On the Valley Trail hard work has paid off, for the time being, in the continuing effort to promote the Deptford Pink. This species is Britain’s fastest declining wild plant and only the most determined of conservation efforts will save it from extinction within the foreseeable future. The Sudbury site is vulnerable to all manner of pressures including the desire by some to plant their own garden flowers at the site. These will continue to be removed so that garden plants do not become a component of the wild flower assemblage. Such competition for the Deptford Pink will put it under further pressure and possibly hasten its demise at its last remaining site in East Anglia.