'Butchered' trees 'left looking like totem poles' in historic Northumberland village

An angry resident has complained that trees lining Warkworth’s main street have been ‘absolutely butchered and left looking like totem poles’.

Thursday, 13th February 2020, 7:28 pm
Tree pollarding on Castle Street, Warkworth.
Tree pollarding on Castle Street, Warkworth.

The pollarding works on Castle Street, close to historic Warkworth Castle, were carried out earlier this week by Northumberland County Council.

However, local resident David Orange – a tree surgeon for over 30 years – is appalled by the severity of the work.

“I am absolutely horrified at what they’ve done,” he said. “They’ve been absolutely butchered and left looking like totem poles.

Castle Street in Warkworth.

“They look absolutely horrendous and it would now be better if they were felled, to remove these now ugly features from the village.”

The lime and sorbus trees, believed to be around 100 years old, had been causing shading and other issues.

But Mr Orange says that crown thinning by around 20 per cent would have alleviated those concerns.

“Pollarding is a somewhat drastic form of tree maintenance and should only really be undertaken when there is no other option that would save the tree,” he said.

One of the pollarded trees on Castle Street, with Warkworth Castle behind.

A council spokesperson said: "These trees are quite large for their setting, are close to buildings on the street, and over the years we have received a number of complaints and some insurance claims due to the issues they can cause.

"In close consultation with local residents, the parish council and the local county councillor, we have agreed that this pruning of the upper branches is the best way to retain and manage the trees into the future.

“They will start to green up later this year, and this fairly common method of pollarding will promote the more vertical growth of foliage and branches."

Coun Jeff Watson, member for Amble West with Warkworth, added: “While nobody likes to cut trees, the parish council and I, as the county councillor, agreed they should be done as they were causing damage to houses on Castle Street.

Tree pollarding works in Warkworth.

“Several residents of Castle Street attended the parish council meeting when this was discussed.

“The only real alternative was to have them removed and I certainly did not want that to happen. I am assured that the trees will grow back.”