ALAN CASTLE: Limes demise leaves a hole

Trees have been felled along the cobbles at Market Street in Alnwick.
Trees have been felled along the cobbles at Market Street in Alnwick.

It is true, Alnwick will not look the same after two of the lime trees, which majestically graced the Cobbles were felled at the weekend – at least for a number of years.

They were part of the old town’s charm and character, giving it a green, natural feel in the summer and a place to hang the Christmas lights in the winter.

Thank goodness they weren’t removed in the height of summer when they would have been in their pomp. Their destruction would then really have left a noticeable hole.

But it should not have come as a complete surprise to townsfolk since the Gazette has been reporting on their demise for years.

It seems that when the Cobbles, which also add character to the town, were laid, not enough provision was made for the limes to receive water and so they have struggled to survive.

Another theory is that unusually high levels of salt used in a string of severe winters has hastened their downfall.

I wonder if that means other roadside trees will suffer death by salt?

The place will look bare without them and I hope it doesn’t mean the whole lot have to come down.

But better to be felled in a controlled manner than to crumble onto someone’s bonnet, be that on their car or on their head. Discussions were started four years ago, when the trees’ poorly state was first noticed. But it was too late to save them and now we can only hope that the rest of the trees can be rescued.

There is a plan to replace them, possibly with a variety more suited to the drier conditions found under concrete and cobbles and perhaps a better irrigation system can be included.

In the meantime, we’ll have to put up with a lighter area, clearer view and no bird poo on our cars nor slippery leaves underfoot in the autumn – nor any of the other problems people always moan about.

Every cloud...!

Christmas will present a challenge as the twinkling trees were an integral part of Alnwick’s display but I’m sure our expert band of lights volunteers will come up with an inventive alternative. On that note, I’ve already had my first invitation to book a festive party – and it’s only just May!