Relief as dangerous lakeside poplars axed at Park Street beauty spot

PUBLISHED: 11:56 04 February 2015

Trees have been felled near Frogmore Lake in Frogmore/Park Street

Trees have been felled near Frogmore Lake in Frogmore/Park Street

Debbie White/Herts Advertiser

Part of a local beauty spot has been transformed following the mass felling of unstable older trees under threat of toppling.

Lafarge Tarmac, owners of the worked-out quarry at Frogmore Lake, Frogmore/Park Street, has had elderly and diseased poplar trees alongside the waterway chopped down, after they were damaged by storms last year.

A huge pile of logs – about 100 cubic metres – is now stretched along part of the main footpath, and elsewhere there are rows of tree stumps near the popular fishing spot.

Herts county councillor for St Stephen, Aislinn Lee, said the trees had posed a “serious safety hazard”, and added that there had been no complaints from visitors to the site.

Dick Downs, bailiff for the Ver Valley Society, said that while it looked “quite stark” as a result of tree clearance in places, and although it was sad to have fewer trees “the poplars were a danger to the public”.

A spokeswoman for Lafarge said the firm had agreed with the county council to dedicate a new public right of way to follow a route between the River Ver and Frogmore Lake.

But, she added, “before the footpath can be dedicated, we needed to cut down 57 old and weakened old hybrid black poplar trees, to make the path safe for users.

“Most of this work was completed at the end of 2014 but because of very wet conditions we still need to level off a section of the path.

“Once this is done later in spring we will be talking to the local community and council about dedicating the footpath and providing interpretation boards.”

The spokeswoman said that native trees such as oak, ash, hornbeam and hawthorn were already naturally regenerating as a result of the trees being chopped down, “as they benefit from the extra light, which is a condition of our felling licence”.

The poplars were planted about 60 years ago to help screen the former quarry.

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