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Future of 200-year-old tree secured

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The future of a 200-year-old tree in a Dudley borough nature reserve is secured after vital work to prolong its life is completed.

Dudley Council has been working with the Friends of Saltwells Nature Reserve to preserve the life of what is known to locals as the wishing tree, a western red cedar.

The 200-year-old tree sits on the piece of land at Saltwells National Nature Reserve, which came back into the council’s ownership earlier this year.

The tree had sustained damage over recent years and also suffered from a number of arson attacks.

To prevent the tree sustaining any further damage, weakening, or even dying, the council has reduced the size of the canopy by cutting it back by one third.

From left to right: Councillor Shaz Saleem, cabinet member for highways and public realm, Les Drinkwater, June McAuliffe, Marion Drinkwater and Kate Turner from the Friends of Saltwells Nature Reserve and warden Tom Weaver

From left to right: Councillor Shaz Saleem, cabinet member for highways and public realm, Les Drinkwater, June McAuliffe, Marion Drinkwater and Kate Turner from the Friends of Saltwells Nature Reserve and warden Tom Weaver

Councillor Shaz Saleem, cabinet member for highways and public realm, said:

The world’s oldest red cedar is more than 1,400 years old, so our tree is still very young in comparison.
We know this is a special tree for locals and we want to do all we can to protect it for as long as possible.
By reducing the tree by one third, it does change the look of the tree, but was essential to protect the parts of the tree, which had the greatest chance of survival.
Thanks as ever to the friends of the reserve for supporting the council in this piece of work.

Les Drinkwater, vice chair of Friends of Saltwells Nature Reserve, said:

This tree is very special to us and the local community, and we hope taking this action now will enable it to thrive for at least another 200 years.

The Friends of Saltwells Nature Reserve are hosting a free guided winter walk in the reserve on Tuesday, December 6. The two-hour guided walk is on maintained paths and is suitable for all abilities. To book your place call or text Les Drinkwater on 07969 165761 or email via friendsofsaltwells@gmail.com

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