Devizes walk is open after three months of storm repair work

This Is Wiltshire: Stuart Hislop, leader of the Drews Pond Wood Project, and John Bate Stuart Hislop, leader of the Drews Pond Wood Project, and John Bate

THE popular stream-side walk at Drews Pond Wood has re-opened after a storm that brought down 20 trees.

The walk was closed for more than three months as money was raised and 20 volunteers carried out repair work. Volunteers were devastated by the destruction caused by the storm that occurred in the middle of February.

Stuart Hislop, leader of the Drews Pond Wood Project, said: “The damage caused was exceptional. In 23 years we have never had as much damage as that which occurred in one night. We spent three years getting the path finished and three years’ work went overnight.”

But the community rallied round and the group raised £7,000 through donations from the public, Devizes Area Board and The Trust for Devizes.

The first phase of the work was to make the path accessible and 80 tons of scalping was laid at a cost of £3,000. Five volunteers did the work. Gaiger Brothers, Wiltshire Concrete and Wiltshire Council were involved.

The next phase of the work involved building new steps connecting to the bridge over the stream, as they were destroyed in the storm.

Parts of the stricken trees remain. Wood from some of the trees has been used to edge the walk by the stream and the group said other wood would be used in other parts of the nature reserve while some wood was expected to be sold.

The storm struck 14 tall trees – mainly poplars, which were about 70 years old, and the remainder were younger alders.

Replanting will take place but the group will wait until the winter to formulate a plan.

Mr Hislop said: “People coming forward with money has been heartening, it shows what we are doing is valuable. We are very grateful for everyone who contributed.

“Our priority was to ensure the job was done properly and what was good for the wood. The volunteers came out when we asked them and their commitment was amazing.”

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