Work Completed on the Oak Tree

Work Completed – 28/12/23

After the work carried out on the second day the tree has been left in a safe state, albeit with slightly more left that was originally planned. Th view of the church is different. There is some signs of growth on the remaining stumps left of the limbs. One growth though, is a small holly bush which has rooted itself on the remains of a limb on the east side.

End of the First Day – 27/12/23

By the end of the first day all but one of the large limbs had been trimmed back

The work starts – 27/12/23

The work started this moning (27/12/23) to reduce the Oak Tree in the Churchyard to a 4m monolith. The Reading Road was closed between the traffic at the junction with Station Approac, and Holt Lane. A large crane was brought in to lower branches as they were removed, and a team on the ground stripped the smaller branches to put then in a chipper, while the rest were cut into suitable length and deposited in a skip.

One of the team worked up the tree, attaching the chains from the crane and then cutting off the branches.

Despite the ‘Road Ahead Closed’ signs a number of cars finished up at the end of Holt Lane with nowhere to go

Update – 12/12/23

Oak Tree Update

Sadly we have to announce that the oak tree, which has stood on the edge of the churchyard since before the churchyard existed, is to be cut down just after Christmas.

We have to do this work following on from the fall of a large branch into the churchyard a few months ago. It is work we do not want to do but we know that we have to for people’s safety. We are really sad about the loss of such a beloved tree and such a key part of the local landscape- it is a tree I walk past and appreciate several times a day.

The road will be fully closed for up to two days on the 27th and 28th of December to allow the work to be done safely- people will still be able to walk past on the Holt Lane side but traffic and buses will be diverted. Our tree surgeons and the Borough Council have worked hard to make sure we can do this work in the School holidays and when lots of people are off work in the days after Christmas to minimise disruption as much as possible. The Council officers and our local councillors have been very supportive and helpful and we are grateful to them.

We are really grateful too for the support and understanding of the local community, who are also grieving the loss of this tree and for donations- small and large- from individuals and for generous grants from the Wokingham Society and the Free Church Burial Ground.

The plan is to leave a 4m high tree which we hope might sprout new growth and we are collecting acorns and saplings from the oak to be able to replant from this inspiring tree into the Churchyard in the future.

Previous news about the tree

On Saturday 19th August in the morning a very large branch suddenly detached itself from the oak tree that stands in the churchyard beside the Reading Road. Fortunately none of the churchyard team who were working there were hit, and it transpired that none of the graves were disturbed.

Since then we have been able to have a Tree Survey that has identified significant decay in the trunk and lower limbs. The conclusion from the survey is that the oak tree presents a significant threat to property and people, especially given its proximity to the busy Reading Road. The firm recommendation is that the tree be either felled completely, or reduced to no more than 4m in height so that it no longer poses a threat.

This will be a significant reduction leaving no more than a large stump which will make a huge difference to the churchyard landscape. It will obviously have an effect on the biodiversity within the churchyard. There are regularly several nests in the holes in the branches, and huge numbers of insectes sheltered under the bark. We are hoping to leave the stump though, so that it will still provide shelter for some of the existing tenants

We have been in contact both Wokingham District and Town Councils to let them know about the danger the tree poses. We have also been talking to the Wokingham District Veteran Tree Association who have provided some useful suggestions. Any work on the trees in the churchyard is subject to approval by the Diocese, who have already provided permission to have the work done to reduce the tree to a safe level.

Link to the Wokingham Today Article

Church is sad but resolved: ancient Wokingham oak cannot remain as it is – Wokingham.Today

Our intention is to plant a new tree in the same area which will eventually grow to a similar size – in 350 years. So we are also appealing for funding for our tree replacement project. You can donate using the following link:

We are all very sad that we are in this situation, and we shall miss the tree hugely, but the safety of the community and those using the Reading Road is an absolute priority

3 thoughts on “Work Completed on the Oak Tree

  • Why dont you follow the advcie and just reduce the size instead of killing it. Not very Christian of you! I’m appalled

    • As explained in the update. We will be leaving 4m of the tree in the hope that it will sprout new growth, which is the amount the experts agreed would be safe.

    • We would like to have done that, but sadly the professional advice we received was that the tree is a serious danger to the public and should either be reduced to a standing stump or felled entirely.


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