§ SIR JOHN ELLIS (Surrey, Kingston)
asked the First Commissioner of Works whether any large number of oak trees have been felled in Richmond Park; whether a formal avenue of trees 16 has been planted; and, whether representations have reached him that a single avenue of trees is out of keeping and will seriously interfere with the picturesque character of the park?
§ *THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. PLUNKET,) University of Dublin
I think I can best answer the question of my hon. Friend by quoting a few lines from a Report which has been made to me on the subject of the new avenue of horse-chestnuts in Richmond Park by Mr. John Clutton, whose name is well known as that of one of the best authorities on the subject of park plantations of the present day, and who has been our adviser on the management of the timber of Richmond Park for the last twenty five years, with, I think, very satisfactory results. Mr. Clutton writes as follows:—I advised in 1885 that the avenue of chestnuts referred to should be planted, and so far as I could ascertain it was thought at the time that such an avenue would be an improvement to the park. The chestnut trees, having been most carefully planted and cared for by the woodman in the park, have made good progress. In carrying this avenue in a direct line from the Ladder Stile to Ham Cross (where four roads meet), two oak trees and 16 old oak pollards stood between the two lines of young trees, and thus destroyed the effect intended to be produced. The old pollards were, for the most part, mere shells, fast passing into decay, and near them are many others in a similar condition. My reasons for recommending an avenue were, first, that it would form a shady walk of about half a mile in the line of a much-frequented footpath leading from Richmond to Coombe and New Malden by the Ladder Stile Gate; secondly, that there are many of the finest avenues (fast falling to decay) in several of the Royal parks, such as Bushey Park (horse-chestnuts), and Windsor Park (elms and other trees). The avenues and rides in Windsor Park are numerous and extensive. In Richmond Park also there is the Queen's Ride, on either side of which the trees are old and becoming decayed.I may add that the two oak trees and the 16 old oak pollards which have thus been removed, formed a corner of a wood in which there still remain several hundreds of similar trees.