Weep for the willows?

Shame to see the willows being cut back along the viaduct on the Bristol side of Bath Spa Station – and just when they were putting on a fine show of new green leaves.

Are the whole trees coming down?

Well, it doesn’t look like it!

Alexandra Best is a Planning and Conservation Assistant with Bath Preservation Trust and was quick off the mark with a comment on this story.

She writes:

‘As the willows are within the boundaries of the conservation area and look to be substantial specimens, these would require a TCA for felling, pruning, and/or crowning works.

B&NES Council defines eligible trees as those with a measurable 75mm and over trunk diameter 1.5m above natural ground level. 


As far as can be seen from the planning portal, there don’t appear to be any current validated applications for works to these trees, including possible felling works. It’s worth keeping an eye to see if anything comes up in the following weeks, but otherwise, this suggests that felling works are not proposed.’

Meanwhile, on Twitter, another comment:

Thanks to Helen Peter at Widcombe for letting me know about a poster that has been put up on railings opposite the tree cutting for the public to read.

She tells me: ‘Hmmm, still seems severe to me. Last time I thought the railway people got into trouble for such severe cutting. Took 2+ years to grow back…’

Well, l have now had an official response from B&NES.

“The tree works were coordinated with the drainage works to help reduce the disruption for motorists.

The trees have only just started breaking into leaf and we are confident that they will be resilient enough to make more new growth soon.” 


  1. Oh no! I always loved seeing them in full leaf! This is no time for pruning, so I can only imagine the remaining trunks will be removed. Why though? There should be a planning application on the Council’s planning portal for felling mature trees like this”.

  2. It looks terrible, and as you say Richard, so sad to see such beautiful trees butchered when they are just coming in to leaf

  3. “Obstructing the view for drivers”? View of what? The trains?
    Who is the landowner, I wonder – B&NES or National Rail?

  4. We were very upset by this and couldn’t understand why it was necessary. It seems odd to pollard the trees when they are just coming into leaf. Also, like Roger Houghton above, I can’t see how these willows have ever obstructed the view. Thank you for mentioning this.

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