Burghley Estate has today (Wednesday 8th September 2021) announced that it has committed to a restoration programme for The William Cecil Wood which will ensure its future for the next two hundred years.

This important woodland has become of increasing concern in recent years due to a combination of disease, poor drainage, climate change and bark stripping by grey squirrels. Much of the wood is stocked with ash which is now affected by ash dieback, in addition to sycamore, horse chestnut and elm which are now also affected by disease. This palate of species will not provide a long term healthy stand of woodland for this important section of both the Burghley Park and Stamford landscape. Burghley Estate has therefore started to undertake a felling and replanting programme, with a more resilient mix of species which will be planted to address the twin threats of disease and climate change. Prior to replanting, the longstanding drainage issue will also be addressed.

Having felled the interior of the wood in the late Spring the Estate hopes to recommence with the felling of the rest of the trees adjoining the Park wall and the B1081 in mid September. The felling of the trees adjoining the B1081 may require temporary traffic control for a short period; the traffic plan will be designed to maximise safety during the tree felling operation whilst also minimising disruption to road and footpath users.

Once the felling and drainage improvements have been completed, work will begin on the replanting programme which is scheduled to take place throughout the winter of 2021/2022. Pedestrian access to Burghley Park will be unaffected throughout this time.

Head Forester at Burghley House Preservation Trust, Peter Glassey, commented:

“This wood is an integral feature of the late 18th century design of Lancelot “Capability” Brown but in recent years has become of increasing concern. The restoration programme will enable Burghley Estate to replace the diseased trees with a broader palate of species to build in resilience to both disease and climate change, preserving the wood for many generations to come.”

Burghley House

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