Here in Suffolk we enjoyed another largely benign winter but it certainly came with a sting in its tail in the form of storm Doris. Doris would seem an unlikely sort of name to give a storm and, of course, the idea of giving storms names is very new. The great storm of 1987 had no name but then there were those who did not foresee or forecast its arrival.
As the Sudbury Common Lands Charity is responsible for quite a large area which includes numerous footpaths, these all had to be checked and cleared in order of priority beginning with the most pressing and dangerous. This is necessary because walkers, runners and cyclists appear to give little attention to fallen trees and may be unaware of their potential danger. Unfortunately red and white tape is ineffective as a barrier to prevent access so the trees must be attended to and it is the responsibility of the rangers to deal with these trees. In one or two locations path or road clearance was carried out by others and all that was necessary was to complete the work and tidy up.
Although all the trees adjacent to footpaths are checked each year it is impossible to predict which will succumb in a storm so, inevitably, there will always be clearance work. However, with the arrival of spring and the gradual winding down of the winter work programme, the delights provided by the improving weather can be enjoyed. In addition, in a few weeks’ time the cattle, which have overwintered in farmyards, will begin their return to the riverside to continue a grazing tradition unrivalled anywhere else in East Anglia.