Trees torn down in Worcester park battered by gales

Worcester News: 0814523401 Paul Jackson 17.02.14 Worcester Flooding/weather A Eucalyptus tree that had blown down in Cripplegate Park. (4050360) 0814523401 Paul Jackson 17.02.14 Worcester Flooding/weather A Eucalyptus tree that had blown down in Cripplegate Park. (4050360)

A WORCESTER park which has now reopened looked like a 'bomb site' after high winds tore down several trees.

Darren Hobbs, the park keeper, said he was 'horrified' when he walked into Cripplegate Park in Worcester today to find the havoc wrought by recent winds and flood water. The park had been closed since Friday.

Mr Hobbs said even the floods of 2007 did not leave more damage in their wake. Three of the trees to come down following the strong winds on Friday included a 40ft eucalyptus which knocked the branches off a nearby cedar and hit a bench when it came down (the bench was undamaged) and two conifers (one leylandii and one pine) which fell into the car park. Meanwhile the water had picked brash (dead branches) and bark chips used around the shrubs and scattered them all around the park. The leylandii took out a stretch of ornate fencing and the pine fell into the car park. He said: "Usually it is chock-full of cars but fortunately, because of the flood water, there were no cars there or it would have taken one of them out. There was one down in the car park of the Pavilion in the Park as well."

At the height of this month's floods there was around 2ft of water in part of the park, at the bottom of the tennis courts.

Mr Hobbs said it was a shame that the park had lost the trees but said he would have been 'gutted' if the park has lost some of its older trees, like an oak or a beech. He said: "There are trees dating back to before the park was opened in 1932, trees getting on for 100 years old. The park looked like a bomb site this morning."

The first job of the day was to clear the park's paths for people to walk through, working with apprentice Luke Osborne, 22.

Mr Hobbs said: "This was worse than the floods of July 2007. The water came into our service yard this time which it didn't in 2007. I have never known a winter so wet." He said he expected it would take them a week to clear the park.

Worcester City Council has been forced to close an area of the park around the zip wire as keepers have discovered that a number of other conifer trees damaged in the storms.

An area around the zip wire, as well as the entrances to the park oppositie McDonald's and next to The Pavilion have since been closed for safety reasons. Gheluvelt Park in Barbourne remains closed because of flooding which has left silt on the play areas and water on the paths.

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