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Tillingham Woodland Interest Group.

 

 

 

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5th December 2012. Last night at the Annual meeting TWIG was officially dissolved, read about in 'New s-hoots' All funds to be donated to the Green Light Trust.

 

The Group formed from the project team for the St. Paul's Wood project. That in turn was formed to take the 2002 idea for a local woodland forward.  Members of that group included the Tillingham Tree Wardens, once affiliated to the Parish Council, but now switched  to the more pro active  Maldon district Council. It also included enthusiasts and professional people who were all more than willing to assist.

We had a common goal, to put the 'trees' back into Tillingham.  It was realised that the area had lost so many thousands of Elm trees and other mature native trees, due to government intervention just post WWII to remove hedgerows, to encourage more modern farming methods, Also we had also suffered from the ravages of 'Dutch Elm' disease, which has nearly, but not quite, wiped out every English Elm and Cornish Elm from the area.  Then just when you thought it could not get any worse, along comes the hurricane of 87 and the gales the following 3 winters.  All this time there was little if any replanting of the hedgerows.... Even now mature trees are being felled in the Parish, for what ever reason, and are not being replaced.  For every tree felled five should be planted.....  I would rather not see them felled at all, especially not just for their timber, as seems to have happened in one case.

This Picture taken 100 years ago in about 1900 reveals some of  the thousands of trees that grew in the area.  It is a view of Wantz corner, junction of Grange Road and South Street, Tillingham. In the background are rows of mature trees, the hedgerows are full of large trees as far as the eye can see.... they almost meet over the cart...

Views of all around the area on the same series of old 1900 postcards, show a good tree cover.

 

Sadly  the picture today show a grim bareness to the countryside.  This is the same view just over 100 years later in 2005.   Almost every tree you can see has been planted and tended in the past 8 years by Richard Kemp, John Williams or the members of TWIG.  No longer are there mature trees in the distance across the fields, all gone, along with most of the hedgerows too.  Pictures taken from the roof of the church during renovations showed me the extent of the tree loss, out side the village centre there were few if any mature trees left, where 100 years ago there were thousands. What an indictment on our generation and the one before.

Sadly it is just not financially viable, yet, for farmers to replant miles of hedgerow, though to their credit, some more environmentally astute have replanted long stretches not far away from here...   We are hoping for a greater change of heart and some more financial incentives, before it is too late.... we in TWIG  can help supply the manpower!

The Tillingham Woodland Interest Group have been actively replanting wherever we could get permission to do so and we are pleased to say today's farmers are, for the most part, much more environmentally friendly than those of yesteryear!   The government is at last doing it's best to persuade farmers to replace hedgerows and install margins where the small mammals, invertebrates and insects can once again thrive.  The birds of prey are returning slowly.  It is all part of a huge bio-diversity system that we hope to play a part in restoring. 

One of the things you notice on the Dengie, is the difference between Tillingham and the rest of it.  In almost every other Parish there are a good many large, mature trees, even right down to the sea nearly, at Bradwell.  It is not the environment of the area that is at fault, it is the foresight of people in the other areas. 

With most of the population waking up to the effects of global warming, (the seas round Tillingham are now 1 degree warmer on average than they were just 20 years ago!), we in Twig see this as a real way of 'tackling the lost environment' of the Dengie. (Where have I heard that said before??)  Something we can all do and that will make a difference.  Lets do something positive.

 

 

'The best time to plant a tree, 20 Years ago'

'The next best time, Today!'

 

 John Williams,

Chair of TWIG.

 

 

 

 

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Telephone: 01621 778859
 
mail: enquiries@twigs.org.uk