Two special trees will be planted at either side of a main road into Shaftesbury, to ‘welcome’ motorists. Shaftesbury Tree Group wants a small leaved lime placed on either side of the Blandford Road on the Shaftesbury Parish boundary, just before the Royal Chase Roundabout.
Councillor George Hall chairs Shaftesbury Town Council’s ‘ROSE’ committee, which oversees the town’s green spaces. “We are looking at planting a couple of statement trees on the recommendation of the Open Spaces Group and the Tree Group. It will frame the entrance to the town so you know when you are entering,” George said.
Bernard Ede from the Tree Group said the positioning of the trees will be precise, to ensure that they make an impact. “If you plant two trees which develop full canopies opposite each other, at right angles to the road, they can act as gateways. They signify something. They become a landmark,” Bernard said.
The tree species was chosen because it’s well established locally. “The small leaved lime is a very important tree, native to the area,” said Bernard. There are excellent examples growing at Duncliffe Woods and on our town’s wooded slopes. “And there are some even older small leaved limes in the old quarry at The Wilderness,” said Bernard.
The trees will be sourced from a Salisbury-based supplier. Bernard says that’s preferable to using major German or Dutch growers, because there’s always a risk of importing tree diseases from the Continent. “We’re supporting local business and getting ecologically safe stock,” Bernard said.
The Shaftesbury Tree Group has planted other statement trees recently. They bought oak trees to celebrate the life and work of the late community leader, Rachel Caldwell. At their recent meeting, they announced their plan to decorate the guards, which surround those oaks, to mark Rachel’s birthday in January. “Rachel did so much for the town through the Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Tree Group. English oaks will last 700 or 800 years. It’s a wonderful prospect,” said Bernard.
The Tree Group and the Town Council have also announced that permanent labels will soon be fixed to all of Shaftesbury’s Trees. Town Hall staff are compiling a tree database to help them prioritise maintenance work and quickly identify which trees need attention. “Then we can do planned work, rather than reactive work,” George said.
Bernard says the labelling should be discrete and is designed for administrative, rather than educational, purposes. “It’s purely an identification,” said Bernard. “They’ll probably just be a numerical tag. They will have a reference on a spreadsheet, in terms of species and location.”