Thumbs up given to woodland management work in Williamson Park
Work to remove 5.48 ha of rhododendron ponticum in Lancaster's Williamson Park has been completed and given the thumbs up by the Forestry Commission.
Since their introduction to Williamson Park, some areas of rhododendron ponticum had developed the highly infectious disease phytophthora ramorum and become a threat to other areas of woodland in the park.
Earlier this year, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) agreed to award Lancaster City Council a grant on the successful clearing of areas of rhododendron ponticum and on taking preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of it spreading to other areas of the park.
The Forestry Commission, which oversees the funding on DEFRA'S behalf, visited Williamson Park recently and after a full site inspection was happy that the removal work had been completed in line with the specification that had been provided and funding for the work has been granted.
In order to assist the council in reducing any likelihood of the disease spreading to other areas of woodland in the district, the Forestry Commission advise that visitors should clean footwear when they get home.
Katharine Bradshaw, Chair of Friends of Williamson Park, said: "News that this project to remove the rhododendrons from the park has been successful is welcome news for the Friends of Williamson Park as we continue to work in partnership with the council to ensure the park and its woodlands have a positive future. This has been a huge undertaking for Lancaster City Council and as a result, we are looking forward to seeing an increase in biodiversity in the long term and the creation of an environment that visitors to the park can enjoy in years to come."
"If you wish to show how much you care about Williamson Park, joining the Friends of Williamson Park is a great place to start. We meet regularly at the park and if you would like more information about what we do and how you can get involved contact the park on 01524 33318. Everyone is welcome."
Coun Ron Sands, Cabinet member with responsibility for tourism and culture, said: "The successful removal of the rhododendrons is fantastic news for the park. With more improvements on the cards for next year coupled with the work undertaken by park staff, volunteers and friends, Williamson Park can look forward to a bright and healthy future."
The park will continue to work with the Forestry Commission to further develop the woodlands through Woodland Improvement Grants and have been granted additional funding for 2013/14 to develop the Fenham Carr area of the park. Amongst many other things, this will include the replanting of 500 native tree species, path improvements, interpretation boards and the installation more than 50 bird boxes throughout the area.
Date Published: 25/07/12