Kenilworth oaks are here to stay, council confirm

One of the marked trees on land just off Rouncil Lane
One of the marked trees on land just off Rouncil Lane

Marks on around 50 trees in a rural part of Kenilworth has caused a scare for residents that they might all be cut down.

The trees marked with numbers, which run west on private land along Rouncil Lane all the way to Roundshill Farm, are actually set to have specific work on them, such as removing dead wood from branches and other parts of the trees.

One of the notices put up after the marks were seen on the trees

One of the notices put up after the marks were seen on the trees

However, no work on the trees can take place until the landowner gets a licence from the Forestry Commission.

Many of the trees are large oaks, and the size of their trunks suggests they are very old.

And after seeing the marks on some of the trees, notices were put up by footpaths in the area by Rouncil Farm owner Ray Tebby warning people the trees could come down completely.

He said: “It’d be devastating for the look of the area, and the other thing is the wildlife.

“The oak trees are maintaining habitats for small insects right up to the birds settling in the trees.”

Once the notices had gone up, they caused other nearby residents and walkers of the many footpaths and bridleways in the area to express their own concerns.

Jayne Hobbins, who breeds sheep near to where the trees are, was very upset at the prospect of the trees coming down as she thinks Rouncil Lane is very picturesque.

She said: “It’s a beautiful canopy of trees, and we’ve spent many years riding our horses down there.

“Kenilworth is a lovely, leafy town and the more trees that are cut down the less of that leafy town we’ll have.”

Warwick district councillor Susan Gallagher went to visit Mr Tebby on Tuesday, and said she would try to secure emergency Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) to make sure the trees stay up.

If the trees have TPOs placed on them, it would mean work such as felling could only be done with Warwick District Council’s consent.

She said: “I will tie myself to the trees if I have to. You can’t cut down 50 oaks.”

However, on Wednesday Tracy Darke, head of planning at Warwick District Council, confirmed that there were no plans to cut down the trees completely.

She also said the council was assessing whether the trees needed any further levels of protection such as TPOs in the future.

Ms Darke added: “We were contacted by a concerned resident that they had seen the trees marked. They were concerned the trees were going to be felled.

“We’ve contacted the owner who has confirmed that’s not the case.”