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Published Spring 2022, by Bob Tanner, Arundel Tree Warden
Cover Image: Bob Tanner & Trevor Andrews

ARUNDEL has always been a green place, as early paintings and drawings testify. They show banks of trees surrounding the Castle and stretching towards the town’s centre. The flat farmland to the south of the town has long had oak trees, planted as hedgerows to delineate field boundaries and the so-called Duke’s Ride was an avenue of oaks stretching westwards from the Castle. Several of them survive today.

By the nineteenth century, Duke Henry was planting many more trees along the new road, now called Mill Road, leading to the dairy, and beyond.

Bob Tanner and Trevor Andrews Centuries of Arundel folk have valued trees and sailing ships were probably built, and certainly repaired, in the Port of Arundel by local craftsmen using local timber. None of old Arundel’s buildings could have been built without a plentiful supply of wood from the forests of West Sussex out of which huge oaks were once dragged by teams of oxen to shipbuilders in Chatham’s Naval dockyards. And one cannot ignore the fact that wood burning on the home hearth was the only way of cooking and heating, and surviving bitter winters, for centuries. Trees have therefore been of vital importance locally.

Today we are learning to value and appreciate trees for different reasons. We understand their importance as we seek to counter climate change, restore biodiversity and improve our own mental health and well-being.

But our trees have never been so under threat as they are today as plant viruses and insect pests threaten to bring about the disappearance of whole species. We lost our beautiful English Elms a couple of decades ago and now Common Ash trees are fast disappearing as Ash Dieback disease takes hold. Climate change is also having a significant effect. The 1987 hurricane devasted trees in Southern England and strengthening gales topple more with increasing regularity. The flooding risk has to be carefully managed too as trees of any age will simply drown if having to stand in floodwater for long.

But enough of all this doom and gloom as there is a lot of good news, encouraging developments and local initiatives, all designed to counter the expected losses and to accelerate the essential new tree planting programmes locally.

Arundel Town Council is fully committed to keep Arundel as a green, friendly place, popular with residents and visitors alike for its many qualities, including its treescape. I was appointed Arundel’s first Tree Warden about six years ago and two Assistant Tree Wardens, Fiona Keating and Trevor Andrews, have now joined me. Our role is to provide a focus of attention on all tree- related matters locally, to advise the Town Council when tree work is proposed in planning applications and to encourage and support the general public.

Fiona and Trevor are already making significant contributions and have been welcomed by Julie Bolton, the County Arboriculturist who has provided training materials and other support.

The current and on-going tree planting programme started in 2019 when the Town Council bought twelve young Lime trees to replace dead and dying trees along Mill Road. At the same time, Arundel’s Gardens Association funded two dozen Lime saplings that were planted by children at our two local schools. The children have “taken possession” of the trees they planted and can follow their growth into mutual maturity. When large enough, these trees can be used as further replacements are required on Mill Road.

In 2020, thirty-five young Lime trees were quickly sponsored by local residents, and these helped to fill further gaps in Mill Road. Now three more are about to be planted following further sponsorship. That will complete the restoration of Arundel’s beautiful double avenue of Lime trees for the time being, but other planting programmes are in the pipeline, including in the grass verge along part of Canada Road where several trees once stood until the 1987 hurricane.
Look out for the fundraising appeal in the next edition of The Bell, and elsewhere.

The QGC is a unique, UK- wide tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, by inviting people to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee.”

£2,000 for tree planting, as part of the Queens Green Canopy (QGC). The QGC is a unique, UK-wide tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, by inviting people to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee.” This decision by the Town Council is thought to be the first firm indication of town and parish council support in West Sussex and hopefully the first of many. Once again, the ancient borough of Arundel is leading the way for others, so says Dr John Godfrey, the West Sussex Deputy Lieutenant (DL) who is chairing the QGC Committee of DLs driving the QGC initiative nationally.

The Town Council’s current plans include the planting of several individual specimen trees before the end of the 2022 planting seasons which run from October to March each year. They are:-

  1. A significant tree was planted by the Mayor of Arundel on 6th February in Jubilee Gardens to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The Amelanchier x Grandiflora “Robin Hill” forms a dense, upright small tree, spreading with age. The pale pink flowers open from pink buds then fade to white and are followed by dark purple berries. The foliage opens bronzy, turns green in summer and produces orange and red shades in autumn.
  2. A tree in memory of all Covid-19 victims will be planted in Arundel. The precise type of tree, location and timing have still to be decided but a central Arundel site is preferred. Davidii involucrata may
    be appropriate. The so-called handkerchief tree is
    a medium-sized deciduous tree with bright green, broadly ovate leaves to 15cm in length. Flowers very small, in rounded heads 2cm in width, held within a pair of creamy-white, ovate bracts to 20cm in length. These white bracts resemble handkerchiefs hanging on the tree’s branches
  3. To say “thank you” from the people of Arundel to the NHS staff and volunteers working throughout the pandemic, a suitable tree will be planted, perhaps within the grounds of the Arundel Surgery. (Subject to consultation).
  4. A tree to replace one lost in Jubilee Gardens and planted to commemorate the Festival of Britain in 1951, will be planted there.

The search continues for a suitable site for the first Arundel Tree Nursery where seedlings and young saplings can be allowed to grow on until large enough to be planted in Arundel’s many green spaces.

Already, over fifty saplings have been donated and are safely heeled-in on a local allotment.

Arundel has many notable Trees and, jointly with local resident Marty Lovell, an App has been developed which allows the user with a mobile phone to listen to a commentary describing some of them.

Arundel has many notable Trees and, jointly with local resident Marty Lovell, an App has been developed which allows the user with a mobile phone to listen to a commentary describing some of them.

As you wander around Arundel you will see a great variety of trees. Ever wondered what they are, their characteristics, historical significance and uses? Now you can enjoy a guided tour of some of the most “Notable Trees of Arundel”. Here the listener is led around the town taking in various stunning specimen trees. The narrative is supported by photographs to aid identification and the tour can be accessed by using the following link:

This tour is soon to be available on a mobile phone App which will be free to download. Check it out at IZI Travel.

The Arundel Tree Fund has been opened to receive donations and sponsorship money for further tree planting work in Arundel. If you would like to donate to the Tree Fund you may do so on-line using the following information:-

Name: Arundel Tree Fund
Sort code: 30-95-09
Account number: 00734056

Thank you very much. Your generosity will help to ensure Arundel remains the green and pleasant place for residents and visitors to enjoy for many years to come.