Huntingdon’s ‘fairy tree’ saved from felling despite second attack by arsonists

The Fairy Door, Riverside Park, Huntingdon.

The Fairy Door, Riverside Park, Huntingdon. - Credit: Archant

Huntingdonshire District Council has completed repair work to a tree which was targeted by arsonists for a second time.

The Fairy Door, Riverside Park, Huntingdon.

The Fairy Door, Riverside Park, Huntingdon. - Credit: Archant

A weeping willow tree in Riverside Park was again torched by vandals late last month, causing upset among those who know it as ‘the fairy tree’.

Following the fire, which burned the tree at its base, Huntingdonshire District Council has had to carry out urgent work to make it structurally safe.

Councillor Robin Carter, executive councillor for environment, streetscene and operations, said: “This particular willow tree appears to have significant importance to local residents as ornamental figures have been placed around the trunk, with a small door built at the base.”

Original recommendations from council staff suggested that the tree would need to be removed but due to its “obvious local importance” the authority has decided to retain the tree by pollarding it.

“This involves removing all the upper crown and branches of the tree leaving the main trunk to recover,” added Cllr Carter.

The main footpath which runs next to the tree was closed for public safety reasons while work was carried out.

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According to the council the tree will be inspected regularly now the work is complete, but if a risk arises in the future it has stated that the tree will need to be removed completely.

During the assessment of the tree, a honey bees’ nest was spotted within the midsection of the main trunk.

The council received advice from the Huntingdonshire Beekeepers Association on what it needed to do to retain the nest