Head gardener refutes claims of mass tree felling on estate

Reports that a National Trust head gardener in Sussex had cut down 7ha of trees in a wood much loved by local residents were false.

Standen Estate head gardener James Masters was accused of mass tree felling in St Anthony's Wood, on the National Trust property near East Grinstead.

Masters said: "An article in the East Grinstead Observer said we had cut down 17.5 acres of woodland but actually we only coppiced a quarter of an acre."

Master added that his team's work was good woodland management. "We are enhancing it for the benefit of visitors and for wildlife.

"Local walkers had complained to me about garden rubbish that had been dumped in the wood. We had to remove three skip loads of rubbish, which included asbestos."

The alleged mass tree felling was the subject of many letters in the local paper.

Masters said he had received 100 comments from the general public about the situation and all were positive bar three.

"Following the publication of letters protesting against work on the woodland, people came to see what we are doing and said what's all the fuss about."

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