Nature can be both beautiful and cruel at the same time. This winter has been one of the worst as far as weather goes that I can remember. It has not been a proper winter at all. I was actually looking forward to winter. I have to admit I am one of those people who loves the snow and frost and I have really missed it this year. I have missed walking in the fresh crisp snow and I was looking forward to taking snowy pictures at Charlecote Park. Now I have said that, knowing the weather as it has been so random and unpredictable, it wouldn't be the first time we had snow at Easter or even in May. I am not sure that will happen this year but you never know.
A beautiful old oak in the main park area
This tree was totally twisted
This part of the tree was amazing to touch. It was lower down the tree than the picture above and with all the rain we have had, it was like a sponge. You touched it and it kept bouncing back.
This one was taken half way up the tree at another break.
Amazing to think how old these trees are.
This winter has been so damp and horrible. We have had nearly three months of rain and terrible floods in so many places. Then came the bad storms, all of which hit Charlecote Park badly.
One of the trees damaged in West Park
The night of the worst storm I sat downstairs as I could not sleep. The noise outside was so bad and next doors fence was banging on our front door all night. There was me in the middle of the night at my front door in my dressing gown trying to stop the banging but the winds were too strong for me to do anything. I tried to move the fence but it was impossible so I closed the door again and just hoped we didn't lose the glass in the door during one of the gusts, as the fence smashed against it. In the morning we saw the real damage caused by the storm. We had lost a row of fence panels but the people next door had lost many at the front and back of their house. The ones at the back looked like they had just snapped in half. I thought this was bad but nothing quite prepared me for what I would find at Charlecote Park.
The Avenue in West Park. One of my favourite walks.
As you can see, some of the trees were split in half length ways, others snapped in half.
I was asked if I could photograph the damage that the storm had caused within the Park. Normally I would jump at the opportunity to taking photos around the park as I love it so much there. Any excuse and I am there.....but not this day. A part of me wanted to see it but a part of me didn't. This is a Park I love and to see this damage to trees that had been here for hundreds of years, with thousands and thousands of people walking by, was heartbreaking. If only these trees could talk. Imagine the stories they could tell. The history they have seen and the changing landscape. Some people think a tree is just a tree but they are so much more than that when you think about how long it has taken for them to get to how they are.
Hundreds of years of growth, all whipped out in one day. It's not a fence panel that can be replaced the next day. This will take not only someone replanting a tree but then hundreds of years of nature doing it's thing for future generations to see such a grand tree. I think the park lost five trees in total, one ended up in the River Avon. All I can say is that Charlecote's Celebration trees have been a very good idea this year!
The tree in the River Avon
Two of the beautiful Cedar trees on the lawn were also damaged and one had to have quiet a a lot cut off due to damage and being unsafe.
As you can see the storms were strong enough to totally twist the wood as it snapped it off.
Again the wood inside was beautiful but it won't be wasted, it will be reused around the park.
Many trees have these rings. This shows you how old this branch was.
So much damage happened around the park. Hill Park was also affected but the staff were quick of the mark to clean that area up and get it open to the public again. West Park is bigger and has a lot more trees to check. I can't believe that after all the flooding they had, they were then hit so badly by this storm.
Here is a link to a video Charlecote Park made when the damage first happened.
The clean up. Lisa, The Park Manager going up in the crane to check the damage out. I am pleased I didn't have to go up there. This photo doesn't show you quite how high it was.
Lisa inspecting the damage.
The workers preparing to go up the second Cedar tree.
Staff at Charlecote busy clearing the wood away to make it safe so that they could open this area again.
Here is the Oak tree as it is today. It has been made safe and is now slowly drying out ready for wildlife to make a new home and children to play on.
Or even a Jacob sheep.
The next blog will be a bit more cheerful I promise.With Spring on it's way there are beautiful flowers coming up everywhere and soon it will be Lambing season. That's something everyone loves seeing new lambs. I can't wait!
Photos Copyright Jana Eastwood