Saturday, 29 March 2008

Ongar: Community Tree Strategy

The title of this work might sound off-putting but its content is certainly not. The ‘Ongar Community Tree Strategy’ was commissioned by Ongar Town Council and various local interest groups have made a significant contribution to this booklet. The work (32 pages, A4 size, in colour with photos and maps) gives an outline of the landscape history of the area before considering ‘special’ trees in Ongar, worthy of preservation, civic protection or simply enjoyment. With the declining use of timber for buildings during the twentieth century and pressure for more road building, airport expansion and housing, the Strategy concludes that safeguarding “an environment that supports a green landscape is crucial in the face of these challenges”. Locally, it is a “wake-up call to preserve not only the present tree stock, but perhaps more importantly, ensure that by community action in our own homes and gardens, we leave a healthy tree-filled legacy for future generations”.

The Ongar Millennium History Society organised a lecture (“The Marion Slade Lecture 2008”) given by Jon Stokes, Director of Rural Programmes for The Tree Council (28 March 2008 at Great Stony). The subject was “Our Heritage of Trees” in which he put forward a convincing case that important trees need to be listed in the same way that buildings receive such recognition. In the forward to this booklet, Pauline Buchanan-Black, Director of The Tree Council, says that "veteran trees should be regarded as Green Monuments in their own right".

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