Amphitheatre at Val de la Mare Arboretum

We’ve been keeping it quiet but due to a loose comment on Facebook today I thought I’d publish some information about our Amphitheatre Project at Val de la Mare.

The amphitheatre idea came from seeing the geography at the foot of the valley leading to the new Chinese section lending itself perfectly as a natural bowl. Working with the support of Jersey Water and several donations from Corporate supporters we have cleared the area of invasive Sycamore trees that had followed the stream down the valley, and though we never want to remove any trees, the Sycamore, as they always do, were affecting the more important trees in the area and would eventually have completely taken over. Now the Oaks will be able to flourish and eventually we’ll have a beautiful Oak canopy over the valley.

So, through the winter we have felled the trees and kept potential good tree trunks to use to make into benches to sink into the sides of the valley. We will do probably just two benches to start with to experiment with embedding techniques, and then perhaps add a few more here and there later on. The idea is they become a natural part of the area, they will blend in. The “Hobbit” amphitheatre is our working project name for it as we want to keep them from being obvious.

I should add that trees have always been felled outside of bird nesting seasons as we are deeply sensitive to wildlife, and all trees felled were properly checked for any nests and bat activity before work began.

One of the benefits of this clearance stage of the work is it gives birds a better flight access route to water and feeding areas.

The path to the Chinese section will eventually wend its way up the hill and the almost fifty rare Chinese trees planted will start to make themselves noticeable on the upper slopes in years to come. Rare or interesting Chinese shrubs are also going to be added to the upper slopes.

Its unfortunate that this time of year everything is trying to shrug winter off and its easy to think the worst. A few more weeks and the greenery and colour really appears.

Right now we have more light on the valley floor and this will be encourage grasses and flowers to grow so that the area will become more suitable for small events and outdoor classes, and when its ready, for seating, such as cushions or blankets to be used. We think it will become a magical place.

There will be more updates in due course and we’ll announce when its ready to be officially open.

Thank you,

Gerard Farnham
Jersey Trees for Life