A large horse chestnut tree has been felled to stop the damage it is doing to the Back Gate of the College. The roots of the tree have tunnelled under the Gate and disturbed its foundation, causing small gaps to open between the masonry blocks.
The roots have also spread into the bridge beneath the gate and caused considerable distortion in the bridge structure. Large cracks have opened up in the arch that the Back Gate rests on.
The College obtained reports from a structural engineer and an arboriculturalist. Both reports recommended felling the tree to prevent further damage to the listed structures. Yesterday, tree surgeons finished felling it down to a stump.
The stump will remain because some of the tree's roots are binding the bank of the nearby ditch together and preventing erosion. The roots that go under the Gate, however, will be severed and a barrier placed underground to prevent more roots spreading that way.
The bridge will now need further work, including re-pointing and attaching steel ties to ensure the brickwork remains stable.
The felling of the tree has left a gap by the Back Gate, but it is hoped that in time the space will be filled by a lime tree which stands behind the horse chestnut. Up until now, the lime tree's growth has been stifled by the larger tree.