Winter and early spring provides the season for tree planting, and in addition to the thousands of saplings which are replanted across the estates’ woodlands and biodiversity schemes, this year will see an increase in new trees on the parkland at Raby.

After the devastation of three successive storms this winter, sadly we have seen widespread damage and lost several mature trees from the parkland, some of which date back to the early phases of planting, over 180 years ago. The forestry and estates maintenance team have risen to the challenge and have worked to clear the initial damage and make the park safe for visitors.

Storm Tree Damage

The sheer size and age of the trees involved has itself added to the task, requiring both skill and care to undertake safely. Specialist contractors, Dryad Arb were engaged to reduce some of the large trees on the approach to Raby Castle which stood at over 30m in height. As part of this work, split and damaged timber was removed from the upper branches of the trees, which would be out of reach for most traditional arboricultural equipment. Crown reduction, a process by which the weight and surface area of the branches and upper limbs of the trees are reduced, was then undertaken to improve the long-term resilience of the trees and improve their potential to withstand future storms.

A significant task is still in hand to deal with the remaining windblown stems, and where possible, some of the timber will be cut and re-purposed for use in the exciting developments and wider parkland. In a plan to keep a continuity of trees on the Parkland, several oaks and limes will be planted this season to provide a
growing resource that will in time, develop into towering, mature specimens for future generations to enjoy the park as we do today.

Crown Reduction

Geoff Turnbull Geoff Turnbull, Head of Forestry

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