Century-old rotting tree to be felled

The iconic tree outside St Luke's Church
The iconic tree outside St Luke's Church

A centuries-old tree will be removed from the church grounds it sits in after it was revealed it is at risk of falling down.

The Weeping Ash which stands at the entrance to the churchyard of St Luke’s in Lowton, will be felled after tree experts warned church councillors that the tree was severely rotted and was in real danger of toppling.

A church committee spokesman said the decision to tear it down comes after years of failed attempts to support the aging tree.

“It’s been causing concern for at least 10 years,” he said.

“There was a big void of rot detected in the trunk quite some years ago. The modern way of treating that is not to fill the void, it is to let them self-heal instead.

“That having been done, the rot has actually got worse. It’s been monitored and the recommendation was made to reduce the weight by pruning it many times.

“During the last inspection, tree officers from Wigan Council decided that reducing the weight wouldn’t reduce the risk of the tree falling.

“With it being in close proximity to the road, which children use to go to school, we had to take the decision that the tree had to come down.

“It was not a decision we have taken lightly.”

The Weeping Ash is described as a well known popular landmark that has stood by the church on Slag Lane for more than a century, although its exact age will not be determined until it is torn down and its age rings are 
inspected.

It is not subject to any Tree Preservation Order by Wigan Council, which would have made it illegal to cut down or damage a protected 
tree.

Work is expected to begin on removing the tree within the next two to three weeks.