The Lichfield Society
Report of the Tree Study Group

  1. Introduction

    The Group has held four meetings and, in addition, a small committee, appointed to draft this report has met on two occasions.

  2. The Detailed Survey

    The first step taken was to carry out a survey of all the existing trees in the City area which are considered of landscape value and, at the same time, notes were made of important trees requiring replacement in the near future and of areas lacking trees, where it is considered that their presence would contribute towards the appearance of the City.

    The survey was carried out by small parties, to each of which an area was allocated, and their findings were brought together in the form of a plan, to a scale of 1/5000, together with detailed notes which list:

    a. Places where trees are needed and there is space for them;
    b. Areas where re-planting is required;
    c. Trees requiring preservation, groups being shown separately from individual trees;
    d. comments made by members of survey parties.

    On this plan are shown:

    In Green - Trees and groups which are of value to the landscape. This classification is not intended to imply that these trees are necessarily good specimens, of suitable species or well placed, but that they do in fact exist and that their presence contributes something to the landscape value of the City.

    In Brown - Prominent trees that will need replacement in the near future.

    In Yellow - Places where there are few or no trees at present and specimens or groups are considered necessary.

    It is intended that this plan should be kept for reference by the Society and it will need periodic revision.

  3. The Summary Plan

    A smaller plan to a scale of 6 in to 1 mile has also been prepared and is appended to this report.

    [Note - The plans are unfortunately missing from our archives]

    On this smaller plan are shown, in broad outline, the recommendations made by the Group and in particular the areas where action is urgently needed.

    The colouring on this plan is as follows:

    Red - Areas near the centre of the City which are due for development or re-development. These areas contain a number of garden hedges forest and fruit trees, as many as possible of which should be retained.

    Green - Open areas which are on the whole well provided with trees, but where improvements can be made in places.

    Yellow - Areas where trees are needed.

  4. Summary of the findings of the survey parties

    It was found that the landscaping of the City can be divided into five distinct categories, as follows:

    a. The closely developed Central Area, including the Close.

    This area is urban in character, but it contains a number of trees and hedges of landscape value. The important trees include forest trees in the Close and in gardens along Gaia Lane, fruit trees such as those in the gardens between Market Place and Minster Pool, many of which the Group consider must be preserved when the new car park is formed, and the hedges and fruit trees in the gardens between Stowe Street and Stowe Pool.

    b. Private Estates, landscaped during the 18th century or earlier; for example Beacon Park, Stowe Hill, Stowe House and the belt of woodland on the East side of the Maple Hayes Estate. Also into this category would come the gardens at the rear of St John's Hospital.

    These properties contain for the main part trees which have attained or passed their maturity (with the exception of some recent plantings in Beacon Park).

    Except for Beacon Park and Stowe House all these trees are in private ownership and, owing to their value in the City's landscape, every encouragement and assistance should be given to the owners to protect and replace them.

    c. Other open spaces; for example Victoria Hospital, Friary School, Churchyards and playing fields.

    Some of these areas are well provided with trees and some are not so well, so there is room for improvement. New planting has taken place at the Grammar School, and the Friary Gardens are a pleasant example of what has been done in the past. It is, however, considered that more expert advice on layout is required than appears to have been used up-to-date.

    d. Areas of recent development.

    In general it was found that no organised planting has been done and no room left in the layout of new housing estates for anything larger than small garden trees. Particularly bad examples of this are Brownsfield Crescent and Redlock Fields, and the Curborough Housing Estate needs small groups of trees to break up the blocks of houses. In such areas as the green in St Michael Road and in Cherry Orchard attempts to grow trees have been defeated by vandalism but it is hoped that this will not deter future planting.

    It was noted that in St Michael Road the garden hedges are an attractive feature and it was considered that similar hedges would look better than the post and wire fences used on some estates.

    The Council has planted some trees, of garden varieties on their estates but no policy appears to have been adopted to ensure that future layouts, which are approved by the Council, provide space for planting.

    e. Areas of future development, including both trading and housing sites for public and private development.

    In such areas as Levetts Field, the Borrowcop Hill development which is just starting, the area between the Railway Line and Cherry Orchard, the site of the old tip at Curborough, the Trent Valley link road (on both sides), and the other areas coloured Yellow on the plan, immediate action should be taken to provide for the planting of groups and belts of trees. Many opportunities have already been lost and the matter is most pressing.

  5. Recommendations for action by the Society

    In the last section of this report a number of suggestions and recommendations were made and in order to implement these it is proposed that the Society should take the following action:

    1. Make the detailed survey and notes available for reference by the Council and private individuals.

    2. Press the City Council to:

    a. Provide for the planting of groups and single specimen trees in areas of new development;
    b. Insist, when approving layouts for new development, that provision is made for landscaping;
    c. Prepare a long-term scheme to provide for the planting of belts or large groups of trees to break up the area of buildings;
    d. Employ a landscape architect who should be asked to advise on all plans for future development and also to make recommendations regarding which trees need preservation and replacement.

    The Group is aware that this has been considered and that the cost deterred the Council from employing a full-time Landscape Architect. However, the cost of having a survey carried out and a plan prepared showing future policy should not be alarming and should be reduced considerably by the work already done by members of this group whose survey is available. The cost of referring to the same Landscape Architect any plans which do not appear to conform to his basic recommendations should not be high.

    3. Most of the important trees are privately owned and the City Council should be urged to use its powers under Section 28 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, to make Tree Preservation Orders in suitable cases to ensure the preservation of trees of importance to the landscape, particularly in areas of new development, where sound existing trees could be retained.

    4. Approach, when considered desirable, public and private owners of land with requests that they should plant trees in certain places to screen ugly dumps and works. It is appreciated that such dumps are necessary but their usefulness need in no way be impaired by screening from the public gaze.

    5. The destruction of some recently planted trees indicates that efforts are needed to educate the public, and younger members in particular, in the appreciation of trees in the City landscape. It is proposed that the Society should press the Education Authorities to take full advantage of the Forestry Commission's offer to provide up to 100 forest tree plants for use in the grounds of a school. If the children could plant and look after trees it should go a long way towards overcoming this problem for the future. Posters and lectures are also suggested.

  6. Future Maintenance

    A policy of regular inspection, removal of dead and dying trees, re-planting, pruning etc., is necessary if the trees that form an essential part of the City's landscape are to continue to play their full part. As many private owners inevitably lack the necessary knowledge it is proposed that the City Council should maintain a list of persons and organisations from whom advice and assistance can be obtained and advertise that fact.

    An appendix to this report contains a list of books and leaflets relating to trees in towns which are recommended to members of the Society and others; also the names and addresses of some organisations from whom advice can be obtained. Among those organisations are some Societies which accept Local Authorities as well as individuals as members.

    Mrs B.Y. Tetlow
    Trees & Planting Study Group
    November, 1961


"Trees in Town and City"; Issued by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, H.M.S.O. 7s. 6d
"Trees for our Towns" by W. Barbara Ashworth; Metropolitan Police Gardens Association 1s. 0d
"Roadside Tree Planting in Urban Areas" by R.G. Salter; C.P.R.E. 2s. 6d
"Town Trees"; C.P.R.E. 1s. 0d
"Advice on Planting Trees"; Glasgow Tree Lovers Society 2s. 6d per doz.
"Preservation and Planting of Trees"; Glasgow Tree Lovers Society 2s. 6d per doz.
"Trees" (An article by P. Shepherd in Architectural Review, Dec. 1956)  
"Tomorrow's Landscape" by Silvia Crowe; Architectural Press 21s 0d
"Trees for Town and Country" by Association for Planning and Regional Reconstruction; Lund Humphries 30s approx.
"Starting a School Forest, A scheme for adopting Forest plots"; Forestry Commission Free.
"Forestry and the Town School"; Forestry Commission Free.
"The pruning of Trees and Shrubs, being a description of the methods used at Kew" by W. Dallimore; Blackwell 7s. 6d
"Trees in Towns, a discussion of the effect of tree roots on nearby buildings" by R. Morling; Town & Country Planning 2s. 0d
"Trees in Towns" by R.J. Morling; Estates Gazette 7s. 6d
"Home Grown Timber Trees, with notes on town planting"; Timber Development Association 3s. 0d