Unfortunately we have some some very sad news to report. After further investigation by our specialist team, it seems Dutch elm disease (DED) has won the battle with both remaining elm trees in front of the Visitor Centre & Gift Shop. These great 150-year-old trees, which form part of the historic landscape of Ferry Meadows, have started to decline and show signs of dying. They have suffered from multiple DED strikes, going all the way back to the trunk in both trees. Nothing can be done to save them.

Dutch elm disease is spread by elm bark beetles carrying the disease from infected to healthy trees and it ravaged the elm tree population throughout the UK in the 1970s and 80s. 

Our visitors who know Ferry Meadows well will know that until 2018 there were four veteran elms standing in front of the Visitor Centre, which we were proud to have protected from Dutch elm disease with very careful attention and regular monitoring (daily in summer). Despite this care and attention we were not able to prevent the spread of the disease and the first of the four trees was struck in summer 2018. Our rangers first tried pollarding the tree to remove the infected branches but found that the disease had spread right to the roots. It was then a race against time to remove the tree to stop the disease spreading to the remaining healthy trees. Unfortunately in autumn 2019 signs of DED were visible in the second tree. This tree was closely pollarded to try and prolong its life. Sadly now, we can see that Dutch elm disease has also spread to the two remaining trees. 

For safety purposes, the decision has been made to fell both trees, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our visitors, which is of paramount importance to the Trust. Replacement trees will be planted early spring or autumn next year.

The tree felling work will commence from the 7th October and take three days to complete. Thank your for your understanding. 

There is some good news on the distant horizon... Elm trees are making a comeback in the UK due to development of new varieties that are resistant to Dutch elm disease. This could be a great opportunity to enable the return of the elm to our countryside and communities and more importantly back in the historic landscape of Ferry Meadows.