Ancient tree being felled to make way for new shared use path

The oak tree on the left will be chopped down to make way for the new path next to the B4465

A tree believed to be 300 years old is being chopped down as it is in the way of the new shared use path that will be be created at Shortwood Road on the outskirts of Pucklechurch.

The B4465 Shortwood Road will be closed from Monday to allow for preparation work before construction of the new path begins. It will link Pucklechurch to the existing cycle track on Shortwood Hill and will be for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

The road closure, from Siston Lane to Becket Court, means there will be a diversion in place from 8am to 4pm for two weeks while crews remove vegetation. The signed diversion is along the B4465 Shortwood Road, A4174 Avon Ring Road, the A420,  Naishcombe Hill at Wick, then Abson Road and the B4465 Shortwood Road, and vice versa.

Construction work is expected to begin in mid-April when two-way traffic lights will be in place. The path is likely to take up to six months to complete.

The oak tree

It will go along the southern side of the B4465 on land currently used as highway verge, a field boundary, horse grazing field, and as arable crop farming. A section of public footpath which crosses an adjoining field between the B4465 and Siston Lane will be diverted along the new shared route.

A local resident contacted The Week In to say that as well as hedgerow being removed to make way for the new path, he feared a 300-year-old landmark oak tree (in which there are crows nesting) would be lost, and the council has this week confirmed that is the case.

A spokesperson told us: “Once complete the Pucklechurch Shared Path will provide access to the countryside, along with a direct off-road route linking Pucklechurch and other villages to schools and all the amenities available around Emersons Green and beyond, offering a much-needed healthy alternative to car travel.

“A sympathetic landscape design has been developed to provide as much mitigation for the work as possible. Wherever possible the existing hedge and trees have been retained, although an established ash tree and an oak need to be felled. The change in levels between the existing ground/tree and the road/path are such that the oak tree would become unstable if left in place.

“A more varied mix of tree planting is proposed along with additional lengths of hedging. The hedge will be restored in as short a time as possible, with larger trees being planted. We have also been planting nearby within Pucklechurch to further increase local tree cover.”