Big changes have been happening up at Broadwood’s Folly today! Sitting in the office halfway through the morning, we were surprised to see someone scaling the side of the tower, a dark blob halfway up the masonry. Then, what should have perhaps been somewhat more obvious, we spotted the rather large cherry picker rising up out of the woods next to the tower. What was going on? A quick scour of the internet popped up the following result from the National Trust:
We’ve had to make the difficult decision to remove the tree growing through the tower known as Broadwood’s Folly at Box Hill.
We have long known the tree was having a detrimental effect on the tower, but on balance thought the tree within the tower offered our visitors a unique experience.
Read more here
Wow- bit of a surprise from the National Trust there! Over the course of the morning the tower started to change from it’s normal furry outline to one a bit more bare, so at lunchtime three of us decided to take a quick walk up to the top to see how it had changed.
Cherry picker on the move
It was quite evident that the tower is not going to look like it has for the past decade. The tree, a holm oak, was starting to look a bit unwell, so the National Trust have decided to remove it from the tree to save the tower. A look at some of the wood they cut down does show there was some pretty nasty rot going on in parts of the tree, which probably wasn’t helping its health…
Sections of wood cut from the holm oak
Holm oak is an evergreen oak from the Mediterranean region, with leaves that are spiky like holly. Sometimes it’s called holly oak, because of this strange feature. Coming from the Mediterranean, it’s obviously non-native, so probably was dropped by a bird as a seed, and has grown up since. In the heartwood there are amazing radiating lines from the centre, which are much paler than the rest of the wood- which has a lovely pinkish tinge in the very middle. The tower is Grade II listed, so the National Trust have decided to cut the tree so that it is not impacted by the tree. It’s a popular walk from the National Trust visitors’ centre on Box Hill, out to the tower and then back via Happy Valley, so the National Trust want to keep the popularity of this walk by preserving the Folly.
Then and now
It’s not quite the same without the tree growing out the top though! Watch this space for some more pictures when they cut down the tree completely, and we get a very different tower from the one we’ve known…
Jason and Michelle check the tower out