Family affair as preservation order secures Thorpe Lane trees for next generations

A SADDLEWORTH councillor has helped to conserve a coppice planted in Austerlands by his great-great-uncle about 50 years ago.

The coppice comes under the curtilage of the cricket club on Thorpe Lane and was planted between the late-1960s and early-1970s by Thomas Kelly.

Now it will be enjoyed for generations to come after Thomas’ descendant – Cllr Max Woodvine – secured a tree preservation order, which was put in place by arboricultural officers from Oldham Council.

Thomas planted a variety of trees along the lane after his sister and nephew Bernard Morris moved into 16 and 18 Thorpe Lane in 1963.

Bernard Morris – the tree line behind him are those planted by Thomas Kelly

They purchased the properties for £3,500 after including a garage and extra windows into the design to save on the cost of bricks.

There were only supposed to be six semi-detached bungalows built on Thorpe Lane by Mr Gartside of Greenfield but two more were added for the Morris family.

Following a career at British Gas, 81-year-old Bernard, who is grandfather to Cllr Woodvine, still lives at number 16.


A trustee at the Cricket Club, he has always supported the village teams, from cricket to football, and was also involved at Saddleworth Rangers for many years. He sent his sons to Doctor Lane School in Scouthead then Saddleworth Secondary.

Keen to protect the woodland for future generations, he sought help from his grandson, who approached the arboricultural officers and following inspections and investigations, a tree preservation order has been introduced.

Bernard said: “Uncle Tom used to put olive oil on his hair and was always outside, walking or in the garden.

“When we moved in we lived opposite a barren embankment which presented him with a perfect opportunity to plant a variety of tree species.

“Now, the woodland is a habitat for wildlife so I’m proud of my grandson for putting protections on it.”

Bernard Morris Cllr Max Woodvine and Cllr Luke Lancaster

Cllr Woodvine, who is a Saddleworth and Oldham councillor, added: “This is very much a family affair. These trees were planted long before I was born and now with this order they’ll probably be here long after I’m dead as well.

“My grandfather wanted to protect the trees, not for himself, but for future generations. This is his lasting legacy.”

Cllr Luke Lancaster, who is councillor for Saddleworth North, added: “Thomas quite literally planted roots here and the trees, which his nephew Bernard has watched over for more than fifty years, and are now a fantastic feature of Thorpe Lane.

“In acknowledgement of their unique contribution to their adopted village, these trees deserve the fullest protection.”

One Reply to “Family affair as preservation order secures Thorpe Lane trees for next generations”

  1. By wildlife I presume he means a load of rubbish that’s dumped along with loads of lost cricket balls!

    Who’s job is it to maintain said “woodland”? as it is always overgrown and basically a driving hazard.

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