Park regeneration

In October 1987, Michael Fish a now infamous BBC weather presenter, told the UK not to worry, there wouldn’t be a hurricane, but there would be some strong winds further south in France and Spain. In the event, winds of up to 115mph caused Ā£1 billion of damage and 15 lives were lost.
In my city, many trees came down including a number in Heavitree Park. When I was five years old, my daily walk to and from school took me through the park and I remember those huge, majestic trees standing guard over the gentle sloping landscape gardens. Each September I’d collect conkers from under the horse chestnuts and watch the squirrels collecting nuts for their winter larders. You can imagine how upset I was all those years later when I walked Jassy, my golden retriever through the park, a few days after the hurricane that wasn’t going to happen.
If you look closely you can see the stump of one of the old trees, see how big it was?
The park has never been quite the same for me, but I can walk there without tears now. Thankfully, a few of the old trees, including these above, survived that dreadful night.
A couple of years later the council planted a small grove of birch, carefully fenced off to protect them at first. They have now grown to maturity and are a lovely sight. So yesterday I walked Dido and Daisy, the border terriers early in the morning, before the November fog had cleared. They chased the squirrels – futilely of course, and I only had my phone camera but I had to share the young trees with you.

I hope they never have to stand up to a hurricane.


17 thoughts on “Park regeneration

  1. I love your personal pieces, Gilly. They’re so thoughtful and full of detail. You make me know both your sadness at the loss and your delight at the growth of the replantings.

    Unfortunately, mourning trees is a regular occurrence – I’m watching a street replanting in one of my nearby towns after a line of grand old trees was removed for a roundabout. That sort of destruction is easier to predict than the weather.

  2. I can sympathize with you,Gilly. We had a huge hurricane called Charlie that took out so many beautiful trees it’s never the same after that. The little trees planted to take their place pale in comparisons. Thought provoking post … šŸ˜Š

  3. I remember that night well, Gilly ~ the roof blew off my house in Southampton. It was so frightening listening to the slates flying off and crashing onto the cars parked below ~ the whole family, including teenagers and animals, huddled in our big double bed! Luckily it was only our property that was damaged. It was sad to see the the devastation caused to the land ~ but I agree with Heyjude ~ it demonstrated the formidable force of Mother Nature and it’s so much sadder when man sacrifices a magnificent ancient tree in the guise of ‘progress’. Great post! šŸ™‚

  4. Do I see some excellent pictures celebrating trees in the Autumn?
    Winds are an important part of Autumn. Falling temperatures stop the rising sap, sunshine sets the leaves on fire and the wind blows off the dead leaves for worms and other below-ground creatures to turn the leaves to mulch, to provide feed for the tree to grow new leaves in the spring.
    Clever isn’t it? And you can appreciate how wonderful the Autumn is?

  5. It’s wonderful the new plantings have grown so strong, though they will never replace the comfort of trees from your childhood. Which Hurricane was it, Gilly? Hugo?
    The last and only storm I’ve know is Hurricane Hazel in 1954. I thought the world was ending.

  6. It’s sad when these beautiful trees come down. We had a really sinister storm here from the Midwest to the East Coast in 2012. It took out 20 trees on our property alone. But the most sorely missed one was a 200+ year old oak. What’s even more amazing is how quickly nature regenerates and grows over the scars in just a few years…

  7. I can imagine your pain at losing your tree friends Gilly. The young ones will hopefully fill the void and delight another little girl on her way to school.

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