Riverside trees find new home

Last Updated: 21 February 2023

21 February 2023

Three trees have been relocated from the riverside ahead of works on the flood defences in Kendal.

The trio of hornbeam trees has been given a new permanent home in the town’s Fletcher Park thanks to a major team effort involving South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), the Friends of Fletcher Park, Continental Landscapes, the Environment Agency (EA) and its contractors VolkerStevin.

The hornbeams were originally planted around 10 years ago by Kendal Town Council (KTC) beside Jennings Bridge, which crosses the River Kent from Abbot Hall Park to Aynam Road. Rather than being lost when flood defences are built along that stretch of the river, a decision was taken to save the trees by relocating them to nearby Fletcher Park, which is owned by SLDC.

VolkerStevin transported the trees to the leafy Victorian recreation ground, just off Sunnyside. The weighty task of replanting the hornbeams was carried out with a mini digger and a working party from SLDC, its contractors Continental Landscapes and the Friends of Fletcher Park.

District and town councillor Cllr Eamonn Hennessy, who has been involved with the Friends for five years, said: “It is especially gratifying that we have been able to work with SLDC, the EA and VolkerStevin to relocate these hornbeams. All involved in the flood relief scheme have vowed all along to make efforts to save and relocate trees wherever possible. I’m delighted that these specimens will not be lost forever and have found a new home in Fletcher Park.”

The EA is planting at least six new trees for every one felled as part of the Kendal flood defence works. Tom McCormick, EA Flood and Coastal Risk Management Advisor, said: “Through refining our scheme design we have been able to reduce the number of trees we originally identified for removal, and supporting the relocation of these trees is an example of our commitment.

“As part of the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme, we will be planting more than 15,000 new trees across the River Kent catchment, taking a “right tree, right place” approach and enhancing habitat for wildlife and for people to enjoy.”

Richard Birchall, project manager at VolkerStevin, said: “It has been a real pleasure to support KTC and SLDC in the relocation of these hornbeams, which are an important local native tree to Kendal. This supplements the two new hornbeams planted at Kendal Parish Church to mark the start of construction of the scheme.”

Praising everyone who made the relocation possible, Dick Forsyth, Chairman of the Friends of Fletcher Park, said: “We are really grateful for the combined efforts that people have put into doing this and very pleased to have got the hornbeams into the ground, where we hope they will flourish.”

The Friends will be keeping a close eye on the trees as they take root in the park. Cllr Hennessy said he applauded the residents’ hard work, adding: “Following the loss of numerous trees to storm and ash dieback, they have worked with partners such as SLDC and KTC on sourcing and planting replacements. A great deal of work has also been done on improving biodiversity with the planting of hedge plants and wild flowers. This kind of work will ensure the beauty of this historic park will be enjoyed for many generations to come.”