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Memorial trees face the chop in Brockhole garden revamp
TREES planted by families in memory of dead loved ones are to be axed from the national park garden at Brockhole as part of a controverisal restoration project.
During the past 20 years, 17 trees of varying species have been planted in the historic garden by bereaved relatives.
But a report to the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) warns that the living memorials, which were permitted by a former head gardener, interfere with plans to restore the historic Thomas Mawson garden to its former glory.
The Brockhole restoration project to restore 30 acres of formal garden and grounds is already under fire over plans to axe a 110-year-old monkey puzzle tree and the garden’s redevelopment manager Adam Thomas admits he could face a similar backlash over the memorial trees.
“We have a moral obligation to consult with relatives before removing the trees,” said Mr Thomas. “I know this will not be easy and I fully understand that some families will not be happy. However, the trees have to be removed so we can restore the views and vistas to how they were when Mawson first laid the garden out.”
He pointed to a report to the LDNPA in March which said a number of memorial trees in the garden’s wild flower meadow were ‘quite inappropriate for such a setting and will intrude on significant views’.
Brockhole gardener Sue Preston-Jones said memorial trees had been planted in both the wild flower meadow and aboretum but contact details for some families who planted them had been lost.
Mr Thomas is asking relatives to contact him to discuss the restoration plans, which are backed by English Heritage and funded by Heritage Lottery money.
Meanwhile, he said he was determined to press ahead with felling Brockhole’s monkey puzzle tree, despite admitting that keeping it would not hold up the restoration work.
He commented after campaigner Marianne Birkby was told by English Heritage that the tree had not figured in any funding correspondence.
Mr Thomas insisted English Heritage accepted that felling the tree was essential to achieve the restoration objectives.
“It will definitely be felled,” he said. “But I want to keep the monkey puzzle story alive. “That’s why we will take cuttings and plant them on another side of the house where they can grow to be enjoyed by future generations.”