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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > February 2013 > Works to river walk

Works to River Walk to maintain riverside trees for future generations

Work is now underway to significantly improve the river walk between Prebend Street and Town Bridge.

 

When completed the footpath on the south bank of the River Great Ouse will be replaced, a grass embankment added between the path and the river and 31 semi-mature Tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) planted.

 

The footpath is currently in a very poor condition with patched areas and trip hazards caused by exposed roots from the Horse Chestnut trees. 

 

Recent surveys have also found the Horse Chestnut trees are seriously affected by pest and diseases such as leaf minor and in particular, bleeding canker. When combined with the poor rooting environment these issues contribute to a rapid decline in the trees. Due to the level of decline, the trees will not survive the necessary paving improvements and will be removed immediately.

 

The new Tulip trees will grow to be larger specimens than the existing Horse Chestnut trees and will provide stunning autumnal colours for current and future generations. They are also more robust and do not have the same level of problems with pest and disease.

 

Councillor Sarah-Jayne Holland, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “The River Great Ouse is a wonderful part of Bedford and one we are absolutely committed to maintaining.

 

“These works will improve the safety of the river walk for all visitors while maintaining an enjoyable tree lined riverbank in the heart of Bedford for future generations.

 

“We recognise that local residents are extremely proud of the river and embankment and that is why we are explaining our plans well in advance to allay any fears that we are damaging our riverbank.”

 

The current trees have been found to be planted in building rubble and subsoil which is clearly far from ideal for the health of the trees and may account, in part, for the poor health and stunted growth of the trees. The works planned will include the installation of tree pits which will provide a much better environment for the trees to grow and ensure they remain in place for generations to come.

 

Existing trees will be removed in February and March to avoid disturbing birds during nesting season. The footpath works will take place during the summer and the new tulip trees will be planted during the autumn as this will give the trees the best opportunity to develop as well as minimising disruption to Bedford College.

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