The National Trust plans to re-open spectacular views across the Taunton Vale by removing trees from the upper slopes of the Wellington Monument site in response to local opinion.
Nigel Garnsworthy, Countryside Manager, says: ‘The most frequent comment we get about the site is that it’s a real shame people can no longer benefit from the views that reach across to Exmoor and the Quantock Hills. We’re really pleased now to respond to what local people want.’
Work to remove around 400 trees is due to start on the 7 October and last for around a month. Larger and more significant trees will be left to benefit wildlife and retain a woodland feel. The birch, beech and oak trees that are to be removed are secondary growth that established itself over the last 30 – 40 years and now nearly completely obscures the views from the base of the monument.
The trees will be felled by hand with the timber being used for a combination of firewood and biofuel purposes.
The re-opening of the views is part of a series of improvements being made to the site whilst feasibility work is undertaken on the monument itself. Other improvements include lighting the Monument to mark the 200 year anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo back in June and plans for better signage into the site.
Surveys have been conducted over the summer to understand the problems faced by the Monument which is currently fenced off to prevent falling masonry from injuring anyone. The huge amounts of data collected is now being assimilated with the aim of making a decision on the repair solution at the start of next year with the fundraising effort following closely behind.