Harsh as the current view of this once splendid willow is, South Staffordshire Council were faced with the unenviable decision to drastically prune this tree. Expert tree surgeons were engaged to assess its condition, which upon closer examination revealed some dead areas.
The tree had already lost a large branch during one period of gale force winds a few years back. As the tree is located at a popular junction along the Wom Brook Walk, where the footpath crosses the Wom Brook and ascends towards the South Staffordshire Railway Walk, the risk assessment deduced that the willow had become too large to be safe for pedestrians passing beneath it.
Historically, willows were harvested during pre-industrial times, and following the advent of the Industrial Revolution, they were a source of fuel Wombourne villagers would utilise for cooking and heating purposes. Consequently, willows at the turn of the nineteenth and early twentieth century were kept to a manageable size, and did not present as quite a potential hazard to those walking beneath them.