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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:50 am
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Location: Wearside
Source: Leamington Courier, 22 May 2009

Willow trees will again line a walk at Southam's Holy Well as they did in Edwardian times.
Brambles and undergrowth have been cleared, saplings planted and old willows pruned to restore the avenue of willows near the Stowe valley well.

The project was started by the town's Civic Ideas Forum and carried out with the help of forestry and arboriculture students from Warwickshire College.

Forum member Len Gale said: "The trees were planted about 100 years ago and it seems to have been a favourite spot for walking in past ages.

"But through years of neglect the trees had collapsed and become overgrown and lost in brambles and brushwood."

The Holy Well, which is thought to date back to Anglo Saxon times, was restored to its former glory in 2007 and the forum is trying to regenerate the surrounding area.

After contacting Warwickshire County Council and landowners for advice, the group decided to press ahead with its plans.

The students spent two days using their expertise to coppice and pollard the existing willows and the forum has planted out an avenue of new saplings.

Mr Gale added: "We were delighted that the college was so enthusiastic about the project and was able to provide the practical skills necessary to make this idea a reality.

"In a few years the effect of this work will enhance the landscape and create another interesting part of the walk "

College lecturer Gareth Meadows said: "This project gave the students some valuable practical skills and we were pleased to help."

A £102,500 Heritage Lottery Fund grant was secured by regeneration group Vision4Southam to bring water back into the well, rebuild the stone walls and encircle it with carved, oak posts.

Since the work was completed in 2007 a number of the posts have been damaged and ten were ripped out of the ground at Easter.

These have now been recovered and all 90 will be concreted in to prevent further damage.

Southam Town Council plans to ask Stratford District Council for a contribution towards the £1,200 to £1,500 cost.

Council clerk Debbie Carro said: "It was a council officer who recommended the contractor for the job.

"The posts were just put into the ground so when it starts to dry out they become loose, which has led to the problems we are having."

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