The land by the Gaslight Theatre at the end of Alpha St. was the site of one of our early plantings. Those trees are now substantial, and with the building of the Te Awa footpath and cycleway, we decided to add to it. Cambridge High School pupils did some initial planting in the area just past the sewer pipe, and we have maintained this and done some infill planting to replace casualties. We also had to do some thinning. The trees were thriving, and getting crowded.
We have also extended the original planting by thickening the edge of the old one. Now that those trees are large, there is room for an understory. While we were working there, we decided to make a screen of trees and shrubs to conceal the water treatment plant, and to attempt to restrict the space for hooligans to cut up the lawn with their cars.
When this land was being grazed, there was a 7-wire fence alongside the track. Grazing ceased last year (2016) and the Waipa Distric Council has agreed to put the land into the Meadow Walk project. The first step is to remove the fence to give access to the small wetland at the bottom of the valley. This wetland drains into the Waikato river via a 20-metre drop, but should be cleaned up anyway.
Work began on Friday 7th April 2017. There follow some videos showing progress. First, the fence removal.
Marking out was followed very quickly by planting. St. Peter's Baccalaureate students helped, but as the Tree Trust's cameraman was away on holiday, there is no video. There are some still shots, though, of Tree Trust members working with their usual enthusiasm.
The Oak Arboretum was established in 2003 and contains several species of oak. It was grazed by cattle for a long time. The Tree Trust had been asking for years for a path from Watkins Rd through to the High School to make life easier for the pupils as well as providing a walk for the public. It took added pressure from Sarah Ulmer and others to convince the Council to go ahead. Funding came from Sarah's efforts, not from ratepayers.
We have made suggestions about extending the planting to include other species. There are about 9ha to play with, and the oaks are fairly widely spaced.
It is hoped that the oval in the middle will be large enough for cricket matches.
In 2016 grazing stopped. The protective tree surrounds were taken down in a remarkably big effort involving Correction Department teams as well as Tree Trust members. The area around each tree was sprayed and mulched, and the result is a very popular walk. The Council still takes a couple of crops of hay off it each year, so onlly the grass near the tracks and the trees is mown.
We took the idea of naming the species that we had come up with in the maple arboretum next door, and put in a post for each species. There are stainless steel nameplates on each post, detailing the botanical name, the common name, the countries where they are native, and the date of planting (2003). The links below take you to a site with very detailed information on each species. It includes many more species than are found in this arboretum. There are several hundred species of oak world-wide.
It is intended to be just as its name says, a walk across a meadow, surrounded by trees. Most of them will be natives, but there is room for a fruit grove, along with several fruit trees close to the track so that their fruit may be readily picked in due course, and there will be a patch or two of English trees for autumn colour. The 50 fruit trees marking the Cambridge Lions 50th anniversary have been planted there.