How we saved our protected oaks

Our trees are in trouble

I can be a bit grumpy, but earlier this week I was extremely bad tempered.  Someone told me that people were on my drive nailing numbers to selected trees.

Before I could get my gumboots on there was a loud knock on the front door.  Two very pleasant men stood there looking rather shame faced.

To get everything clear, I need to take you back over a rather extended period.   Our house has always sat in the middle of lovely fields – not owned by us and not available for purchase from the farmer.  I’ve badgered him for more than 30 years to no avail.  The house sits in a few acres that we do own and is reached by a long drive that winds its way through fields owned by the same farmer.

He eventually sold all his land for development but the only ones allowed for housing, so far at any rate, are either side of the drive.   We fought the development and lost at appeal but did manage to save the lovely ancient oak trees on one side of the drive but in the fields.

My drive is about a third of a mile long.  It is fenced on one side and we have a mature selection of trees and shrubs on the other – all owned by Mrs GG and me.

A bombshell drops

Back to the two men standing on our doorstep.

They explained that the developers who have built the houses have appointed a company to look after the land, including the areas where the protected oaks grow, and their company had been called in to quote for cutting them down and several others too.   We explained about the protection order on the oaks and then came the bombshell.

Not only had they been asked to quote for felling the oaks but also two old cherry trees, an extremely mature Leylandii, various holly trees and a laburnum.  One of the men turned to my wife and asked whether these latter trees belonged to the developer or us.

The mystery remains

We walked them down the drive where they showed us the trees, on our drive, that they had numbered for felling.  No point being cross with them.  I saved that for others.   After several furious emails to the developer, the various companies involved in this fiasco and our solicitor, I have had confirmation that no action will be taken against our trees but, as yet, not explanation as to how this all came about.

I am now about to involve the local planning authority compliance officer about the protection of the oak trees.   Thank goodness the two men came up to see us, otherwise the first we would have known would be hearing the chain saws felling our beloved trees.

I make no apology for this grumpy post. I am sure you understand.

Nonetheless, merry Christmas to one and all and may 2021 bring us all good health, peace and prosperity.