Fourteen mature willow trees growing alongside an Ipswich canal are being harvested … to become cricket bats.
The cricket bat willows are prized around the world and these will be used by JS Wright & Sons of Essex before being finished abroad.
The Greenways Project, which manages the Alderman Canal nature reserve, will be replacing some of the trees but James Baker, who runs the team, explained that “some thinning out is necessary to reduce shading and water loss from the important wildflower meadow”.
James explained: “Willows are very thirsty trees and lowering the amount of water extracted and cutting the shade will help us to improve the biodiversity of this managed site, although the majority of the trees on the site are remaining. We have also planted some smaller fruit trees near Bibb Way as part of the Urban Buzz partnership with Buglife to produce new nectar-rich habitats.”
Greenways volunteers will make wildlife habitat piles and “dead hedges” from some of the smaller cricket bat willow branches after the trees are harvested. This will also increase the habitats for a variety of wildlife.
So, the new superstars of world cricket could benefit from the Ipswich-grown bats. Joe Root’s successor, perhaps!