Fallen branches causes Eye Castle to close — and a ‘lucky’ escape for the Dove Players youth cast

Eye Castle is closed due to branches having broken away from a chestnut tree ANL-160817-091633009
Eye Castle is closed due to branches having broken away from a chestnut tree ANL-160817-091633009

The grounds of Eye Castle have been closed this week after two large branches from an old chestnut tree fell at the weekend.

The castle and the amenity area, managed by Mid Suffolk District Council, is open to the public, and played host the Dove Players youth casts’ production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

Eye Castle is closed due to branches having broken away from a chestnut tree ANL-160817-091619009

Eye Castle is closed due to branches having broken away from a chestnut tree ANL-160817-091619009

The branches are believed to have fallen between 4am and 5am on Saturday morning.

A spokesperson for Mid Suffolk District Council said the area had been closed off, with the tree due to be inspected this afternoon and the fallen branches to be removed.

They added further branches could be removed if they looked likely to fall, with the hope that the castle will be open again as normal later today.

Charlotte D’souza, director of the Dove Players, said the youth cast had been practising all week under the tree.

I am thankful that no one got hurt. It didn’t look as though the branches would fall so I had no concerns

“Luckily the wardens allowed the Dove Players to perform on both days,” she told the Diss Express.

“The children did have to perform in a different area to which they had rehearsed which caused a little confusion with entrances and exits.

“In all we are very pleased that the council felt that it was safe enough for us to carry on with the show.”

“It has made this years show very memorable,” she continued.

The Dove Players youth cast rehearse under a chestnut tree. Two branches fell in the early hours of Saturday morning, causing the castle to be closed. ANL-160817-144808001

The Dove Players youth cast rehearse under a chestnut tree. Two branches fell in the early hours of Saturday morning, causing the castle to be closed. ANL-160817-144808001

“It was a shock as the children had been rehearsing all week under the tree. We feel very lucky that the branches fell when they did and not during rehearsals.

“I am thankful that no one got hurt. It didn’t look as though the branches would fall so I had no concerns.

“We do a risk assessment along with Mid Suffolk District Council’s risk assessment.

“We wouldn’t have rehearsed near the tree if we thought it to be a risk.”

Eye Castle is open from 9am to 7pm every day from Easter to October.

The motte and bailey medieval castle was built in the 11th Century, and is thought to have been largely destroyed in the 13th Century.

What remained of it was pulled down in 1603, although it was in use as a prison up until that time.