We have received the following update from Richard Masefield who, following a request to become involved by our Mayor, Jean Curteis, is leading the campaign to save the ancient coppice bank and apparently veteran oak Tree at the Kiln Field boundary adjacent to the Redrow Housing Development site at Tilden Gill, Tenterden. Richard, former chairman of the Tenterden Neighbourhood Plan and currently leading the Biodiversity Working Group, has been key in raising awareness of this proposed destruction by the developer with the supposed consent of Ashford Borough Council.
“… The KWT Senior Land Management Advisor, Neil Coombs, spent more than 2 hours with us at Kiln Field yesterday examining the bank and the old tree very thoroughly. All the indications are that the oak is of ancient or veteran origin, although it may be difficult to prove that incontrovertibly. The central portion between the rotten trunk and later growth has now rotted away completely. If any of it had remained, we could be sure the tree was ‘very ancient’, as that would indicate both trunks to have grown from a single root. As it is, Neil measured the remaining trunk at various heights, to give 3.1 and 3.8m measurements, and all the lower branches for an aggregate measurement – to provide a good idea of the minimum age of what remains (at certainly more than 300 years).
We now need to wait for Neil Coombs’s report when he’s reviewed his data (and have since sent him evidence of the established wooded boundary in 1822 John Adams map of Tenterden). Whether or not the ancient or veteran status of the old oak is legally provable, I believe that the report will enable us to claim both tree and coppiced bank to be too important historically and ecologically to be excavated or removed by the developer.”
We will be following this closely and will keep you updated of further progress.