National Trust denies it is spoiling 'Wind in the Willows landscape'

Emma Billingham

Suggestions that planned tree works will be spoiling the landscape that inspired Kenneth Grahame to write Wind in the Willows have been denied by the National Trust.

The charity plans to thin back some of the trees at the Winter Hill viewpoint to allow better views down to the River Thames.

There has been speculation in the national media that the works would be damaging the scene that Grahame used when writing about Mr Toad, Rat and Mole during their adventures in the Wild Wood.

But Nicola Briggs, regional director for the National Trust, said: "Any suggestion that we are diminishing the riverside inspiration of Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows is far from the truth. Our plans will actually return it closer to the landscape the author would have known.

"It seems highly unlikely that Winter Hill could have been the inspiration for the wild wood as at the time the book was published in 1908 the hill was open chalk grassland. In fact there are still people alive in the area who can remember sledging down it in winter.

The work will see between 15 to 20 per cent of the trees removed and the plans have been through a consultation period with the local community. It was also a recommendation within the Cookham Parish Council Village Design Statement. The grassland area will also be restored to the slope.

A new pathway and benches will be installed and new volunteers recruited to assist visitors to Winter Hill over the weekends.

The National Trust is looking to start works early next year.



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