Trees on Folly Island

In some of my more mischievous moments at the Hertford Transport Forum I would manipulate the conversation to be able to include Hertfordshire Highways, Folly Island and trees in the same sentence. I knew it would wind up some of the more streetwise Officers.

For those who did not know the Folly Island Residents Association was first formed in 1976 to oppose any attempt to reverse the traffic flow through the Island without the introduction of a Residents Parking Scheme.

This became rather secondary when one day without warning Hertfordshire Highways descended on the Island and chopped all the cherry trees down.

It is true that some trees were causing the pavements to lift up and create a walking hazard but it was like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Thanks to the efforts of residents, some of whom have passed on, the trees were replaced. They had to be protected with metal railings but once again in spring the blossom bloomed.

I took these photos last year(2018).

Last week (March 2019) Highways cut down trees again for roughly the same reason as in 1976. I understand from members of the Residents Association that they will be replaced but it takes time for saplings to take root, grow and produce the kind of colour you see above.

Thornton Street
No trees on the left of Thornton Street

I know a lot of the residents who live in Old Hall Street and the problems they experience with overhanging branches that spew sap onto the paintwork of their cars, cut out daylight and obscure the night time lighting.

But the remedial work makes the trees and the avenue look ugly. Over time the trees will recover but the picturesque island panorama will be lost for a few years.

old hall street
Old Hall Street

On the other hand you can now see all the way down to the allotments under blue skies and sunshine.

I suppose I will have to take some satisfaction from that but the romantic in me yearns for the cherry blossom again.

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By John Barber

John Barber was born in London at the height of the UK Post War baby boom. He had careers in Advertising, International Banking and the Wine Industry before becoming Town Centre Manager in his home town of Hertford. He has been writing professionally since 1996 when he began to contribute articles to magazines on social and local history. His first published book in 2002 was a non-fiction work entitled The Camden Town Murder, a hitherto unsolved murder case from 1907.