10 DECEMBER 1948, Page 17


A urruz ceremony, resulting from the wise aestheticism of the small- - holders and such, in the neighbourhood of their headquarters in the Sandy and Biggleswade district, seemed to me of good omen. A young lime tree was ceremoniously planted before photographers at the side of a new County Council smallholding. It is to be " a pioneer move to replace elm trees killed by disease, trees dying from old age, and trees which have been felled indiscriminately." A Bedfordshire dweller describes the county as " littered with dead and dying elms." The elm disease seemed likely at one time to devastate the whole country, like a chestnut disease in parts of the United States ; but in general, I think, it worked itself out, though still vigorous enough in some districts. At any rate it would be a good thing in a great many places if other species of tree were substituted, and in any case the Bedfordshire example of restoring the tree population should be followed. The species selected for this pioneer estate by Sandy are limes (200), planes (24), Norway maple (30), syca- more (50), horse chestnut (48), beech (48) and American red oak (48), Elsewhere on the Sandy area Scotch and Corsican pine are to be planted in belts as defences against denudation. Great publicity is being given to the schemes by the Bedfordshire Times and Standard.