Stuart Checkley – Our very own Groot

Stuart is our tree champion and has done a lot of work to achieve funding and promote the planting of new trees throughout The Tewkesbury Lodge Estate. We asked Stuart to explain how his interest in trees  began in the estate where he has lived for many years and here is his answer.

We moved to the estate 37 years ago partly because of the trees in the area and in the garden that we eventually bought.
From the beginning I was amazed at the woodland wildlife. There was Woodcock (once) , owls (often but sadly no longer) hedgehogs (also gone) but Wood Mice, Wood Avens, Speckled Wood Butterflies and much else that is still here.
Then a large tree was removed from a nearby garden and I realised how vulnerable is this woodland habitat. I looked into The Preservation Orders and found that the Council is willing to protect long lived trees such as Oak so long as they are visible from the roadside and especially if they are on the skyline. I started a list of such trees and so far have found seven such trees in The Triangle, seven on the site of the Radio Mast and eight in people’s back gardens.
The Oak trees in people’s gardens are visible from the roadside but their size and beauty are only evident from a nearby back garden.
The trees as a whole can be seen from Royal Circus which is above Norwood Road. Our trees are part of what looks like a continuous wood which includes Dulwich and Sydenham Woods, Horniman Gardens, our estate and One tree Hill. The clock tower of the Horniman Museum rises above the apparent wood as does the Radio Mast on our estate but the South Circular is invisible. It is easy to imagine that ancient Great North Wood which once  included all these woods and ran from Deptford to Selhurst in the Middle Ages and through what is now our Triangle and our back gardens.

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