Why is this important?
These two, hundred-year old oak trees stand on each side of the west end of Cox’s Walk Footbridge, Sydenham Hill Woods. They are like sentinels, welcoming and guarding the bridge, and their magnificent canopy dapples the bridge in green shade. But these trees are due to be felled this autumn, just to make life easy for Southwark Council when they carry out repairs to the footbridge. That would be a loss of hundreds of years of life for these beautiful, healthy oaks and the life they support.
- Southwark Council is trying to blame these trees for damage to the bridge but the engineer’s assessment states it is lateral pressure from the soil on both sides of the bridge that is the problem.
- There has been some damage to the brickwork by roots, but ivy roots not oak roots.
- The abutment walls that need repair were rebuilt in the 1980s (exact date unknown) without needing to remove the trees, so we know it can be done.
- No assessment appears to have been done of the impact on the stability of the slope and the water table removal of these trees will have.
- Oak trees have a rich biodiversity, supporting hundreds of insect species, birds, fungi, mosses and lichens.