Why I'm so disappointed

Why I'm so disappointed

Why I'm so disappointed

First published in Letters

I WOULD like to add my disappointment to that expressed by your correspondent last week concerning the Beech Avenue in Tatton park.

Beech Avenue is as historic and significant a feature of Tatton as the Old Hall and pre-dates the existing mansion. It was planted in the 1730s and was once the drive from the house to Mere Heath when the fashion was for straight lines and formal layouts.

It is the sole survivor from this formal arrangement of the park and gardens that must have surrounded the late 17th century house at Tatton on the same site as the present mansion, but of a smaller scale.

When Humphrey Repton was asked to landscape the park in 1791 he advised that the avenue be broken up into clumps of trees in the approved fashion of the “Natural Beauty” school, but his suggestion was not acted upon and the return to formal gardening in the early 19th century seems to have ensured its retention.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Tatton had an award-winning forestry department who maintained this beautiful avenue, removing fallen branches and replacing dead trees with beech saplings. Now it seems to be a case of “can’t see the avenue for the trees”.

It seems such a shame that this historic feature of the park is now being left to turn into what is appropriately described as a “Beech Graveyard”.

Saying that as the trees are ancient they must now be allowed to fall down and rot and disfigure the landscape is akin to saying don’t replace rotting timbers or broken roof tiles in historic buildings, or allowing the metal to rust away on Tatton’s vintage vehicles.

As for the beetles and fungi that thrive on dead wood, surely there are enough fallen trees in other areas of the park where they do not obstruct a popular path or detract from the park’s appearance.

I wonder what Tatton’s long term plans are.

Do they intend to wait 50 or more years until the oldest trees have fallen then remove them and replant the avenue, or is this beautiful feature of the park to be lost forever?

M Gracie, Knutsford

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