Dog-walker criticises Kenilworth RFC’s felling of trees near footpath

One of the trees felled by Kenilworth RFC
One of the trees felled by Kenilworth RFC

A Kenilworth dog-walker has criticised the recent felling of trees on land owned by Kenilworth Rugby Club.

The club has recently felled much of the trees on its land next to the footpath between Glasshouse Lane and Rocky Lane, known as ‘Glasshouse Spinney’.

Kenilworth RFC's pitches known as the 'Cow Patch' next to where the trees were felled

Kenilworth RFC's pitches known as the 'Cow Patch' next to where the trees were felled

Although Kenilworth RFC was granted a licence to fell the trees from the Forestry Commission, Nicci Anderson, 59, of Mountbatten Avenue, described the felling as ‘unnecessary’ and said the appearance of the area was now worse.

Nicci, who has walked dogs along the path for around 30 years, said: “There must have been one or two that were dead but the majority weren’t. You can’t replace 30 or so mature oak trees overnight.

“They’ve taken everything out. It’s just bare earth and has totally destroyed the area.

“It’s a bit odd to me that they suddenly decided to do it.”

A spokesman for Kenilworth RFC said the felling, which started in September, was needed because they had to be sure all of the trees were safe due to how close they were to their pitches.

In a statement, the spokesman said: “As landlord KRFC need to be doubly sure the trees are safe and secure; over 300 mini and junior members access the four adjoining pitches most Sunday mornings.

“During a tree survey in 2016, it was found two trees had died from an infection and there was a risk that the infection could spread to the remaining trees.

“An operation of selective felling was agreed with the Forestry Commission, which involved leaving an outer ring of mature trees and only felling some in the middle.

“This improved husbandry would safeguard the overall appearance of the wood, whilst maintaining a diverse habitat.

“Once the trees were felled, it was found several additional trunks had partial ‘die back’ which would have ultimately rendered them unsafe. This included a large tree that could have fallen on the A46.”

The Forestry Commission’s licence means the club will have to replant much of the site with young trees over the next three to four months.

A similar replanting scheme was undertaken eight years ago, and the club claimed the newer trees are now well established.

Although the land is owned by Kenilworth RFC, it is managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

A spokesman for the trust said it had no objection to the felling, adding: “We can’t legislate on what private landowners do on their land. They’ve gone through the relevant processes.”