OAK trees which were planted in memory of a North East naval hero are to be removed from their riverside location as part of a £21m flood protection project.
The nine oaks were planted alongside the River Wansbeck in Morpeth in 2005 as part of the town’s celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
They were installed at High Stanners to honour the memory of Admiral Lord Collingwood, who completed the British fleet’s historic victory in the naval battle of 1805.
The trees were planted to mark Collingwood’s love of oak, in the market town where he owned a house from 1791 to 1810. Now they are to be uprooted and removed as part of preparatory work on upgrading Morpeth’s flood defences.
This week contractor Birse is due to move in and start clearing trees and vegetation along riverside areas where new and heightened flood walls will be built as part of the £21m flood alleviation project.
The Collingwood Oaks will be carefully removed and given new homes in the grounds of local schools.
Environment Agency project manager, Anthony Myatt, said: “As part of the preparatory works at High Stanners we will be removing the Collingwood Oaks and some other trees to allow for the main flood wall and embankment to be developed.
“We know that these trees do have a local importance so they are going to be re-planted in a number of local schools so that they will remain a part of the town’s heritage.”
Collingwood was dubbed “the Northumbrian who saved the nation” after taking over from the fatally-wounded Lord Nelson and routing the French and Spanish navy at Trafalgar.
The oaks were planted as part of a one-day festival held in Morpeth to mark the bi-centenary of the battle.