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Norwich’s riverside weeping willows get a sharp haircut

PUBLISHED: 16:53 15 May 2018 | UPDATED: 19:25 15 May 2018

Norwich St James' Mill submitted by Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust

Norwich St James' Mill submitted by Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust

Archant

Few trees cut a more immediately recognisable figure than the weeping willow.

Weeping willows outside St James Mill in Norwich. Picture: Steve Downes Weeping willows outside St James Mill in Norwich. Picture: Steve Downes

And it is these trees that also make up one of the memorable views of Norwich’s Riverside Walk, draping themselves over the River Wensum from behind St James Mill.

However, those who have recently strolled on this particular stretch of the walk will have noticed a far less familiar sight - the trees stripped back to the bare branch.

The golden weeping willows, which are owned by Jarrold and Sons, have been pollarded as part of a regular cycle of maintenance carried out on them.

This has seen the branches stripped back to prevent the trees collapsing under their own weight.

Weeping willows outside St James Mill in Norwich. Picture: Steve Downes Weeping willows outside St James Mill in Norwich. Picture: Steve Downes

A spokesman for Jarrold and Sons said: “The tree pollarding is part of an ongoing tree care maintenance programme to promote good health and longevity of the trees, which are an important part of our landscaping on site.

“It was carried out with the approval and advice of the tree protection officer.

“Willow trees benefit from pollarding every five to seven years and it helps to prevent them falling under their own weight.”

The mill was built in the 1830s for the Norwich Yarn Company, but later became home to the Jarrold printing press.

It remains part of the Jarrold company and is currently also home to its printing museum, and the host of willows to its rear have become a familiar sight for passers by. However, they are now almost unrecognisable.

The spokesman added: “Regrowth is rapid with green shoots already evident and this will continue through to the end of the summer.

“By next summer the trees will have much longer, healthier branches and this year’s pollarding will be much less evident.”

Jarrold and Sons had applied to Norwich City Council last year to pollard 20 trees, which is being carried out in two phases. This year’s was the second phase.

A spokesman for the city council said: “The weeping willows are privately-owned trees and covered by a Tree Preservation Order.

“Consent was granted last year to re-pollard them as this is considered good arboricultural management.”

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