It’s always sad to see an old friend go and non more so than realising the lovely old weeping ash that’s been a feature of Bath’s Parade Gardens for so many years – has been felled.
Bath Newseum follower Catharine Adams drew my attention to it with the following email.
‘Any idea why that big tree in the Parade Gardens got taken out today’s? I guess it wasn’t safe as it had big supports but it was important for shade and just because it was a beautiful tree!’
I went onto Twitter to leave a message for the Parks Department at B&NES – who were quick to reply.
‘The Weeping Ash was dying & its condition deteriorated to such an extent the risk of limb failure was unacceptably high. It’d been retained for many years by tree surgery & props, sadly these were no longer enough.
It will be hugely missed but there is a weeping willow planted to replace it as another weeping Ash would not be suitable due to the Ash Die Back disease.”
There are notices in Parade Gardens that have warned of the tree felling – and indeed – of other trees nearby.
The one by the stump of the now absent weeping ash says:
‘Sadly, this elderly Weeping Ash tree is to be felled. The tree is in a very poor condition and is dying. Unfortunately, it will not recover or improve, so needs to be removed before the risk of limb or stem failure becomes too high.
We understand that this popular tree will be missed and we will be replacing it with a young Weeping Willow which will in time – we hope – become an equally loved feature in Parade Gardens.
Unfortunately, some of the smaller Ash trees nearby have succumbed to Ash die-back (Chelara) and will also need to be removed. These will be replaced with specimens of Acer griseum (Snake-bark maple).”
You don’t have to wander far from this point to become aware of another area of felling operations – this time along the riverbank.
Another notice says:
“over the winter we’ll be undertaking a programme of landscaping improvements in Parade Gardens. This will improve the borders along the river, providing a wider range of interesting flowers and grasses and more nectar-rich flowers for bees.
In recent years, more of the Spotted laurels in the gardens have also succumbed to disease and we will be removing dead and dying specimens and replacing them with other disease-resistant species.
We hope to have the new borders ready for the spring.
Please bear with us whilst works are ongoing. We may need to temporarily restrict access to some areas, and please follow the advice of our teams to help ensure public safety.”
Hope that helps Katharine – and any other Bath Newseum follower who may have noticed the tree felling.
It’s good to know the Parks Department put up notices but – for the benefit of those just admiring from afar – the odd press release wouldn’t go amiss. Always happy to pass on new – both good and bad – to the Bath public.
Freelance Journalist, broadcaster, columnist and local historian. Director of Bath Newseum. Married and lives in Bath.
Interested in local history, architecture and visual display in museums and urban spaces.
View all posts by Richard Wyatt