Bourne-based company helping to return iconic topiary avenue back to former glory

  Posted: 09.10.19 at 14:44 by The Editor

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Bourne-based tree surgeon and arborist Euan McLaren is undertaking the first phase of a restoration project to return an iconic topiary avenue back to its former glory.

It has been more than five years since the famous 200-year-old Clipsham Yew Tree Avenue of more than 140 trees, which were once clipped into all manner of unusual shapes, were last trimmed.

But now the Rutland village's Clipsham Yew Tree Avenue Trust (CYTAT), set up last year to organise and fund work to reinstate their patterns before they are lost forever, has instigated work on the first phase of the restoration.

Trustee Sue Thomas said: "The cutting of the trees is a job needing professional expertise and we have commissioned Euan Mclaren Tree Services to carry out this important task.

"They started their work on 1 October and it will take approximately six weeks to complete the re-creation of the original shapes of the trees."

Funding to restore the trees has been raised by the trust from individual supporters and sponsorship.

Then: Trees in 2010 courtesy of Clipsham Yew Tree Avenue Trust

The cost - more than £10,000 - will need to be raised each year to keep the trees trimmed and in good shape.

In the longer term, CYTAT plans to restore the topiary designs on the side of the trees in the avenue, which was once the carriage driveway to Clipsham Hall.

In addition to the restoration works on the Yew Trees, CYTAT has obtained grants to resurface the car park, create new signs and interpretation boards as well as install a wheelchair-friendly path from the car park to the main avenue.

CYTAT has also refurbished the Grade II listed gates and cut the grass rides on a regular basis, while allowing the biodiversity of this species-rich grassland to be maintained.

"Since we took on the management of the avenue we have had an incredibly busy year getting things sorted.

"Once we have got the trees trimmed back to a firm base, we plan to start working on the unique topiary designs in 2020," added Sue.

Forestry England, which holds a 999 year lease for the avenue, stopped funding its upkeep in 2014.

In 2018, following several years of negotiations, CYTAT was formed as a new charity and granted a 20-year management licence to restore and maintain the avenue.

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