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The stories behind Shamley Green's trees

TREES on and around the CRICKET GREEN,

and at LORDS HILL

There follows a brief history of some of the trees on the Cricket Green and surrounding greens, and at Lords Hill, to the best of our knowledge and with thanks to Michael Harding for historical information. The numbers are the reference in our inventory. The dates given are when we know, or think, they were planted:

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Barbara Webb's FLOWERING CHERRY on the Cricket Green, (shown above), planted 1992

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Barbara Webb (left), shown in this newspaper clipping when her Wives' Group organised a party for pensioners. (The lady on the right is Mrs. Emily Starsmore, the oldest resident in the village at the time).

The gorgeous flowering cherry on the Cricket Green opposite the Village Shop was planted in memory of Barbara Webb , who lived in Nursery Hill and was hugely popular in the village. She didn't have an easy life, having been widowed in 1986 with two children to look after, but she successfully ran the Shamley Green Badminton Club, and was closely involved with the Womens' Institute, the local Wives Association and the church. Her many friends were devastated when she died in 1992 at the tragically young age of 47 from a rare form of cancer. Ron Sherriff, a volunteer tree warden at the time, organised the planting of this tree, which flowers spectacularly every year in time for her birthday on April 1st, a lovely tribute.

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You won't find a number tag on this tree - we've given up replacing the tags as they keep disappearing!

Sue & Alan Pavia's WALNUT no. 10 on the Cricket Green, planted 1995

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Sue & Alan Pavia donated this beautiful walnut tree to the village to commemorate their silver wedding anniversary. A native of SE Europe and SW China, this species was introduced by the Romans and is naturalised in lowland Britain. Walnuts are very popular with squirrels, which are probably responsible for spreading the species in the wild.

 

Surrey, in the late 17th century, was a leading centre of walnut production in Britain and the planting of walnut trees was championed by John Evelyn of Wotton, near Dorking. As part of a campaign to reforest the British landscape he encouraged the planting of walnut trees on local estates such as Norbury, but a bitter winter in 1708 decimated the walnut plantations and the trade never recovered.

 

HORNBEAM no. 39 on Easteds Green , 'Ronnie's tree', planted 2017

Jonathan Watson, the owner of Little Easteds, planted this hornbeam in the gap outside his house left by the removal of two whitebeams, and he dedicated it to his father Ronald John Watson ('Ronnie') who died in 2011. Although he suffered disabling injuries while serving in WW11,  Ronnie went on to build a successful career in merchant banking. He didn't live in Shamley Green but loved this area and often brought the family on outings to the Surrey Hills from their home in Fulham.

Hornbeam no.39
Easteds Green in 2008 with 7 big trees (from Google maps)
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Easteds Green in 2016 - and then there were 6 - honey fungus taking its toll
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Easteds Green in 2023 - 5 big ones left (manna ash and whitebeam), and the new hornbeam in the gap

The whitebeams which had to be removed were infected with honey fungus  Armillaria mellea: this is characterised by honey-coloured fruiting bodies and 'bootlace' underground structures, and often appears at the start of autumn. The fungus attacks and kills the roots of many woody and perennial plants while spreading through root systems and infecting nearby plants. Any infected plants must be removed – but even then it can be extremely hard to eradicate the disease. The replacement hornbeam, whilst not completely immune, will be a lot more resistant.

Queen Elizabeth  APPLES & HAWTHORN, Hullmead,

planted 2022 & 2023

Thanks to a generous donation to the Wonersh Foundation* in aid of supporting environmental initiatives we were able to plant several ornamental apple trees, variety 'Rudolph', and a beautiful hawthorn variety 'Prunifolia splendens' in 2022. There are 10 trees at Hullmead and 5 at Lords Hill. A further 2 apples at Hullmead in 2023 were kindly funded in the same way by Paulina Bayliss.

*The Wonersh Foundation is a charity making charitable grants for the general benefit of the inhabitants of the civil parish of Wonersh, and donations via the WF attract Gift Aid, increasing their value by 25%.

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Apples and hawthorns at Hullmead, May 2023

We registered these trees with the 'Queen's Green Canopy', an environmental initiative to encourage tree planting for the Queen's platinum  jubilee, which was extended on Her Majesty's death to enable people to plant trees in her memory.

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Apple 'Rudolph' May 2023

Apple 'Rudolph':

Hullmead nos. 70, 71, 76, 77, 122, 123

Lords Hill nos. 101, 102, 104

Hawthorn 'Prunifolia splendens':

Hullmead nos. 69, 74, 75, 78, 79, 80

Lords Hill nos. 101, 105

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Hawthorn 'prunifolia splendens' with fruits November 2022

OAK no. 59 - another very old tree

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This magnificent oak tree at the entrance to Hullmead has a girth of 474 cms, which could mean that it is about 300 years old. This is the last remaining tree of what was a line of oaks along the former hedgeline fronting Hullmead. 

 

As it is so big we have recorded it with the Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Inventory, which records ancient, veteran and notable trees. Such trees are really important ecologically, supporting more and more species of invertebrates and fungi as they age. 

 

Our oak has been assessed as a 'notable' tree -  these are usually mature trees which don’t have any obvious veteran characteristics like hollow trunks or dead branches, but they are particularly large compared to surrounding trees, and they have the potential to become veteran trees in the future. To see the Woodland Trust report click here.

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The Woodland Trust map also shows a gnarled veteran oak by Lordshill Road on the way to the playground (for report click here). There may be others on roadsides around the village, which at the moment are not included in our inventory.

Queen Victoria LARGE LEAVED LIMES  nos. 53—57,

planted around 1897

 

These big limes by the Arbuthnot Hall were planted in or around 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in that year,  by George Oliver who worked in the Village Shop and lived in one of the Southview Cottages on Sweetwater Lane. The trees were badly damaged in the 1987 storm, as you can see in the photo taken 6 years later, but seem to be fine and healthy now. It’s interesting that only tree no.55 (in the centre of our photo, behind the other limes) is in leaf in May when the photo was taken—all the others came into leaf a couple of weeks later. The variation in timing of flowering and leaf opening is quite marked in some of our trees, particularly the limes, walnuts and maples, indicating genetic diversity in our tree population.

 

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Arbuthnot Hall limes all leafless 5th May 2023 apart from tree no.55 in the background
1993, limes still looking ravaged 6 years after the storm of 1987

Queen Elizabeth SMALL LEAVED LIMES  nos. 37 & 38, planted 2012

Small leaved lime no.38

These two small leaved limes will eventually be large trees of about 30m in height. They were planted in 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth 11.

 

This native species was once the dominant woodland tree in much of Britain, but its range is now much reduced. It is easy to distinguish from other limes when in flower because its bunches of 5-petalled fragrant flowers stick out at all angles from the big whitish-green bract to which they are attached, whereas other lime flowers tend to dangle downwards.

All our limes both large and small leaved support a healthy population of aphids, with lots of predators like ladybird larvae eating them!

Small leaved lime flower buds and their accompanying bracts which will spin in the wind to aid seed dispersal

Alison & Neil Harding's APPLE no. 121 on Lords Hill, planted 2023

Alison & Neil Harding donated this beautiful apple 'Scarlett Brouwer's Beauty' to brighten up the area by Sue Porter's memorial bench. Sadly it has been damaged by a deer rubbing its antlers and shredding the bark  - we have seen the probable culprit regularly in the area since it happened. A tree guard was installed immediately, and we're now keeping our fingers crossed that the tree will survive the removal of about 50% of the circumference of bark. This is possible, but the tree will certainly have had a set back in growth.

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Apple 'Scarlett Brouwer's Beauty'

For the stories behind some of the trees on Duck Pond Green and Malthouse Green see Tree Stories 1

and for trees on Court House Green and by the Red Lion see Tree Stories 2

Damage discovered 8th May
Tree guard rapidly installed - no further damage but will the tree survive?
Here's the criminal, bold as brass!
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