Sudbury: More than 60 cricket bat willows to be felled

MORE than 60 cricket bat willow trees will be removed from the riverside near a Suffolk town in the next fortnight transforming the landscape for locals.

Sudbury Common Lands Charity, which manages the land where the trees are located, has instructed contractors to remove trees from King’s Marsh to the west of the town and from Cornard riverside beyond Friars Meadow.

On King’s Marsh, twenty-nine cricket bat willows will be felled and sold to make cricket bats for the Indian and Pakistani market where the trees don’t grow. Around 35 of the trees on Cornard Riverside are being removed because they are diseased.

The Charity’s ranger, Adrian Walters, said he wanted to publicise that work felling the trees is starting this week, so that residents know what is happening.

He said: “During the 1990s the Sudbury Common Lands Charity Trustees’ had the foresight to plant a number of cricket bat willows around the margins of King’s Marsh.


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“Management of the Sudbury Common Lands costs money and therefore income from a few cricket bat willows is very welcome even though people may perceive the felling of trees to be a bad idea.

“The felling of trees generally causes an outcry because people perceive these trees to be long-established features in the landscape.

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“In fact, old engravings and paintings record the riverside almost completely devoid of trees, the land being open cattle grazed flood-plain.

“Cricket bat willows reach maturity in as little as seventeen years. New trees are planted to replace the felled trees to provide a future crop.”

According to Mr Walters, on the Cornard riverside the trees are suffering from the virulent watermark disease, which affects the wood so badly that they cannot be sold to make cricket bats.

Work in this area, which is popular with walkers and fishermen, will see the trees felled and burnt in an effort to check the spread of the disease.

He said he expected the fires to be big in order to get rid of the large amount of wood felled and said everything possible would be done to minimise inconvenience to residents nearby or people using the riverside.

Mr Walters added: “Although the Sudbury Common Lands Charity does not own the land on the Cornard riverside, as the land manager on behalf of private landowners it has a measure of responsibility.

“Whilst some small amount of timber may be salvageable a large number of diseased trees will have to be felled in order to try to stop the spread of the disease to healthy willows and regrettably this work is unavoidable.”

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