On a hot summer’s day on Saturday 17th June, Cotswold Tree Wardens were joined by friends from Worcestershire, Coventry and Wales to attend our annual conference.
Our venue was Miserden, just “over the border” in Stroud District. The Village Hall was hired for the day and by 9.30 the team was ready to greet attendees with tea, coffee and biscuits. With a 10 a.m. start, group chairman Mike Hartnell welcomed everyone before the gathering was addressed by our host Nicholas Wills of Misarden Park (the estate being spelled differently to the village). Nicholas, who has taken over the running of the estate from his father, Major Tom Wills, outlined some of the issues being dealt with.
Our first speaker was David Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Forestry & Woodland Management at the Royal Agricultural University. He gave us a thought-provoking presentation on tree safety and risk management. Whilst owners are responsible for their trees and the safety of them, the public, including Tree Wardens, can play an important part in their monitoring.
This was followed by a walk down into the woodland of the Misarden Estate, led by Mike Hartnell. We looked at an interesting variety of trees in this fine old-established estate, including aspects of trees which might pose a risk to safety in a more public environment.
This tree is near a road through the estate. Perhaps when the road was constructed the tree was young and its surroundings were disturbed with some soil movement resulting. It has subsequently developed substantial roots which are visible above ground. In a more public setting, greater consideration would be necessary in assessing the risks posed. As it is, it is a wonderful visual example of the structure of a tree and one which is normally hidden below ground.
We returned to the shade of the village hall and a buffet lunch, much of it being produced by Jean Nunn, who was later in demand for recipes.
Our afternoon speaker was Anna Ball, this time in her role as Chairman of Gloucester Garden and Landscape Trust. She outlined for us some of the detail behind listing of gardens, with Misarden having one of the key examples for Gloucestershire, Edwin Lutyens having been instrumental in its remodelling in the early part of the 20thC.
Anna then led us on our visit to the garden, including the fine 90 metre border, seen below.
Most of the group then managed a return to the village hall for the customary tea and cake, plus closing presentations of thanks before our departure into the Gloucestershire summer.