The dry spring and early summer must have alerted these ancient oaks, many hundreds of years old, which are losing limbs, that a serious drought was possible.
Mother Nature is wise, and in such situations she makes contingency plans, to ensure each species survives. With oaks trees this has taken the form of an abnormally high crop of acorns. Then when July and August saw exceptional rain fall, they have soaked up additional water to leaves and branches, putting an unsustainable burden upon these already heavily laden ancient limbs.
Local tree surgeons report that that they have experienced more call outs for work relating to fallen oak branches, than since the hurricane, across the region.
It will be interesting to see if we are in for an exceptionally cold winter, when we can thank Mother Nature for providing extra winter fuel!
I hear that members of the National Trust, Britain’s largest charity, which manages roughly 2,500 square miles of England and Wales, will appoint as its next chief executive someone who loves and understands the British countryside, farm and estate management, its customs and traditions, and importantly the value to local communities.
The National Trust’s recent history of appointments to this high profile position, have done little to reassure any land and estate owner considering donating their properties, that their wishes and traditions will be honoured. I rather suspect many deceased owners, who have done so in the past are turning in their graves, regretting having handed their heritage and traditions to an organisation which has been manipulated as a political tool.
It is worth recalling that the Trust was originally founded in 1895 by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley. A conservation “charity that works to preserve and protect historic places and spaces – for ever, for everyone.” It has the largest membership organisation in the United Kingdom.
The Trust focuses mainly on English country houses, owning over 350 heritage properties, which make up the largest part of its holdings, but protects historic landscapes such as the Lake District. Most properties are open to the public, although some are leased on terms that manage to preserve their character. It is one of the largest landowners in the UK, owning over 610,000 acres of land.
In the 1990s, a dispute over whether traditional deer hunting should be permitted to continue on National Trust land caused bitter disputes within the organisation. A tug of war between those wishing to preserve traditional country pursuits, and those wishing to introduce urban values to the countryside.
There is concern amongst many members that the Trust continues to lean too heavily towards perceived ‘conservation’, at all costs, with little regard to ensuring there is a healthy balance. Today a tendency by those who wish to ‘manage’ the countryside without an understanding of the value of sporting estates, and traditional farming to wildlife and food production, is dominant.
Members hope the next chief executive will be someone with a history and background of managing similar properties, farms and estates.
The coverage of the twentieth anniversary of the death of Diana Princess of Wales has been poignant, and the message which has come through is that her legacy lives on in the form of her sons, Princes William and Harry. She would be so very proud of them.
Despite negative articles attempting to undermine Prince Charles, I am certain he does not intend that the Duchess of Cornwall become Queen. The Duke of Edinburgh is not King, and in the 21st century our modern royal family will adapt appropriately.