The current crop of trees between Renton Bridge and Oxclose Lock on the Ripon Canal has been dying back because of the ash dieback disease or through old age, increasing the importance of protecting a feature of the landscape which has been there for more than 150 years.
Chalara dieback is a serious disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called Chalara fraxinea which causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees which usually leads to tree death.
The money raised will now pay for the planting of 11 field maple trees, an oak tree and around 100 hawthorn whips which will be used to 'gap up' existing hedges to ensure a continuity of habitats for the wildlife that has always colonised the Ripon Canal.
Generous local people
Jonathan Hart-Woods, environment manager for the Canal & River Trust says: “Thanks to the generosity of local people and others who have supported the Canal & River Trust, we're now able to start work in safeguarding this valuable landscape. Originally the plan was to replant the area with ash trees but the recent Chalara disease, which has killed many ash trees across the country, meant we had to change our planting plans for the canal.
“To help us deliver the improvements we've attracted some great volunteer support which will help keep the canal a real attraction for Ripon residents and people who visit here. As a new charity it's important to us that the local community understand the work we do, support their local environment and heritage and help us continue to make sure our canals and rivers are protected for years to come.”
Also, as recognition to the dedicated work Canal & River Trust waterway operative Julie Freytag has put in over the last twenty or so years along the Ripon Canal, a special oak tree will be planted during the day.
Jonathan explains: “We thought it would be a good idea to plant a tree as a fitting acknowledgement of Julie's hard work. She's well known to locals and visitors to the canal for the hard work and dedication she puts in keeping the canal landscape looking so natural. Hopefully ‘Julie's oak' will become as much a part of the canal landscape as Julie herself.”