The Green and St. Giles Church
The Green itself is divided into three sections, all with trees.
On the section nearest St. Giles Church are three sycamore and a horse chestnut, all big and apparently good for some years yet.
On the centre section, one big old sycamore, nearest the church is getting thin and past its prime. There are four other old sycamore in better condition but with some dead branches, a young copper beech and a good lime, both promising. The iron cage round the lime should be removed now. There are a Norway maple, white beam and horse chestnut planted in 1968, a second horse chestnut planted too close to the first, presumably because the first had been damaged several years running by children and was not expected to survive; it has, however, made a good recovery. If both should escape further damage, the question will arise in about three years time as to whether the second one should not be moved elsewhere. With care this could be done. The stake supporting the whitebeam should now be removed. Ideally the lowest branches should be pruned off in the winter close to the stem, but this is not essential and might be asking for trouble in the form of imitation by children.
On the south east section are five sycamore of varying age, in fair condition, but some with dead branches.
It is not too soon to plant another two trees in this section, though one planted there a couple of years ago was destroyed at once.
In a corner of the churchyard fronting the Green is a good copper beech. Along the east boundary is a row of five old lime, apparently in good condition and good for some years yet; an old beech which was good in 1968 but which started showing some dying back of a branch in the summer of 1975, cause unknown, and which should be checked on from time to time; and an old birch tree past its prime which will not last for many more years. In 1968 a copper beech was planted under the birch to take its place in due course; this is growing well and should now be given more room by taking off the lowest branch on the birch (an easy job).
On the opposite side of the churchyard next to the copper beech mentioned in the first sentence is a small weeping elm. The twigs growing out of its base should be removed from time to time. Along the path leading to the church door are a cypress and four Irish yews. In the churchyard are a number of trees planted in 1968, namely a Norway maple, two flowering almonds, a flowering cherry and five birch. These are all doing well and need no particular attention except freedom from damage, e.g. when mowing grass. Against the church is a red may, planted in memory of the late Mrs. Carnell, which should be given more light by shortening some of the overhanging beech branches. In the church yard is also a cedar of Lebanon, which after a slow start as always happens with cedars, is coming away well. It should not be allowed to get overgrown with grass or damaged when mowing. Near the wall fronting the Green is a sycamore planted on New Year's Eve, 1973, which is overhung by one of the big sycamore on the Green but may survive long enough to take its place. Lastly, near the church door is a mulberry planted by Henry Stapleton, which may or may not sur vive - this season will show. There is a self-sown sycamore growing up against a gravestone which should be removed because there is not room for it in the churchyard.
There are various trees (or in some cases no trees) in gardens and grounds adjoining the Green.
On the right of the drive leading to the Manor is a fine old sycamore; there are also two hollies and various young trees coming up which could do with sorting out.
In the grounds of Skelton Hall adjoining the Green are half a dozen yew and a rather poor walnut.
In the adjoining garden of the Little House is a big old copper beech with a pronounced lean, and a sycamore. In Skelton Cottage garden are two big old copper beech and some young trees. Skelton Hall grounds contain many good trees. In the garden of Skelton Croft are young birch, willow, larch, and elm. The most conspicuous treeless gap adjoining the Green is the old orchard belonging to the farm. There are some fruit trees visible, and two small ash at the eastern end but no hedgerow trees.
Round the corner, in the same orchard fronting Orchard View, are two old lime trees, one of which' is going back, some recently planted hedgrow trees and shrubs in rather poor shape, and a view of old fruit trees in the orchard.
Church Lane, St. Giles Road, and The Village
Going up Church Lane from the main road there is a belt of poplars and other trees in the field on the left. In the hedgerow on the left are two old decrepit ash and a. holly, and a row of young trees planted inside the hedge and now becoming visible, together with cherry, laburnum and cypress near the entrance to Springhill.
On the right, in the Gablehurst hedgerow, are two big old ash, one of which has much dead crown and is quite unsafe; a scraggy old oak, two younger ash, a young beech and a number of young sycamore; also some pollarded lime, and on the corner at St. Giles a good sycamore.
In Green Mantle garden on the left are an old ash, past its prime but good for some time yet; three fair Austrian pine, several young ash and sycamore, a willow and many young trees becoming visible. In the Rectory garden on the right is a good group of young trees at the bottom, two young birch adjoining the house and two young birch at the back, in addition to young trees inside the garden becoming more visible.
The Old Orchard garden on the left contains a poplar behind the hedge and a number of decorative trees within the garden now showing from outside.
At the top of Church Lane adjoining the wicket gate into the church-yard, is a particularly good young horse chestnut planted in 1968. The base was damaged on one occasion by a mowing machine, and care should be taken to avoid such damage.
By the bus stop on the main road, opposite the Blacksmith Arms, are two small elm in a garden which, though rather scruffy, make a good background. In the garden of the Blacksmith Arms are some fruit trees and an ash.
In The Dell are a number of smallish trees in gardens, including two cedars. In the Vale, mostly in gardens, are a number of young and middle aged trees - sycamore, ash, yew, laburnum. In the grounds of the former Skelton Grange some good trees have so far been left and incorporated into the gardens of new houses, in partic ular a large beech and a large cedar of Lebanon, both really much too close to the house built next to them and liable to pose a problem in some years time. In the grounds so far unbuilt on are a large number of largish trees, varying from good to poor.
In the hedge bounding Orchard View are a medium size ash and a small Robinia.
Adjoining the stretch of St. Giles Road running from the British Legion Club are a number of young trees in and outside gardens, and an old decrepit ash in the corner of Gablehurst garden. The Meadows contains a number of small garden trees.
Along the main A19 road in the hedgerow forming the boundary of gardens belong ing to houses in the Meadows are a number of small ash, some of which would make reasonable trees with a little attention, and also cypresses and laburnum.
In The Village, opposite the Post Office in the garden of Skelton Croft, are a nice birch and an apple tree.
Going east from The Green, there are two poor ash in the corner of the orchard, and some handsome trees in the garden of the Old Rectory, including old beech, horse chestnut, scots pine and a young deodar.
Opposite, in the garden of Crookhill Cottage, are good young trees including plane cypress, rowan, cedar and horse chestnut. In the garden of Crookhill, the two good tall limes mentioned in 1968 have been felled, but there are a number of young trees visible.
To the east of Crookhill is a row of old beech running at right angles to the road. Adjoining this, facing the Village Hall, is a small wood of old and middle aged hardwoods, obviously a very important feature.
Running east from this wood on the same side of the road is a row of rather poor hedgerow oak, ash and lime, and then another small wood of old and middle aged hardwoods, again an important feature. The fields to the north of the road contain a number of old park trees but there appear to have been many casualties which have not been replaced.
Beyond this, the road is lined on the north side, and along one stretch on the south side too, with well grown old oak and some ash, making an attractive entrance to Skelton from the east. Most of the trees appear sound, but there are some gaps, and some trees have suffered gale damage. It is not too soon to start considering the future of this stretch of road. Replacements for the old trees might be planted now, but one would want to know about any road widen ing or building proposals.
The houses along Moorlands Road have various young trees in their front gardens and trees at the back visible from the road.
On St. Catherine's are some reason ably good hedgerow trees (oak, ash and beech), a nice old orchard and some scruffy young conifers.
In the playground and along the footpath leading to it are thorns with some small ish middle aged oak and ash, one damaged Scots pine and a thicket of alder and thorn. Three Lombardy poplar are visible in a back garden.
Some of the front and back gardens in Brecksfields contain small trees such as birch, rowan, whitebeam, sycamore, larch, ash, cypress, laburnum and cherry. One garden has a row of Lombardy poplar and fruit trees. These garden trees are of the greatest importance to the amenities of Brecksfields, and there is scope for more planting. It is gratifying to be able to record that many of the trees planted by the Rev. Stapleton in 1968 have survived and grown well.