Avenue of yew trees suffers 
infestation of voles

The glorious avenue of yew trees at Clipsham before the disease struck.
The glorious avenue of yew trees at Clipsham before the disease struck.

A picturesque row of yew trees has been plagued by a vole infestation leaving 
bark stripped bare and leaves dead.

The trees at Yew Tree Avenue in Clipsham are popular with both tourists and locals but

voles have damaged their appearance.

The site is owned by the Forestry Commission, and workers are aware of the problem.

Fraser Bradbury, who looks after the trees, said the best plan of action was to let the trees grow back naturally.

He said it was not possible to lay down poison to kill the voles because it would destroy other wildlife in the area.

He said: “Voles live in cycles and unfortunately at the end of the summer in order to survive they have taken to eating the yew trees.

“We can’t simply target the voles and kill them because we risk harming the rest of the wildlife.

“It’s a natural system of boom and bust and we’ll have to let the voles die off naturally.”

“We are monitoring the trees and on inspection, we have made the decision not to prune them because it will take off all the new growth.

“We need to let them recover but we will continue to mow the area.”

The trees suffered from a vole infestation seven years ago but they have since recovered and grown back.

Concerns had been raised by a number of people about the appearance of the trees.

Tess Hedley Lewis, who lives in Grantham, wrote to the Mercury: “It is with great sadness that I see the enormous deterioration in the Yew Tree Avenue at Clipsham. These trees have always been fascinating to tourists and locals alike. They are such an important part of the Rutland experience.”

Another Mercury reader who regularly visits the site said: “The yews haven’t been clipped, so far as we could see, for months.

“Some of the trees are in a terrible state.”