Wales

Wales' tallest tree felled at Lake Vyrnwy after storms

Wales' tallest tree has been felled at a Powys beauty spot after falling victim to stormy winter weather.

The Douglas fir on the Lake Vyrnwy Estate stood at 63.7m (208.9ft) - taller than a 20-storey building - and was once regarded as the UK's tallest.

It was battered by strong winds recently, but the damage was only noticed last weekend when the Forestry Commission carried out routine checks.

The 124-year-old tree was leaning to one side and had two large cracks.

The Lake Vyrnwy Estate, which is in the process of being sold, is a popular with walkers and cyclists, and the risk of the damaged tree falling on visitors was one Forestry Commission Wales was not prepared to take.

Commission area manager Mike Whitley noticed the damage last weekend. He called in an arboricultural consultant who carried out a full inspection.

But it revealed the tree was leaning to one side, and there were two substantial cracks on opposite sides of the main stem extending from the buttress roots to a height of 3.5m.

Mr Whitley said: "The cracks appeared to be very recent and are most likely to be as a result of the stormy conditions in the past two weeks.

"Multiple cracks of this magnitude, especially those on opposite sides of the stem, are an indication that the tree is separating into two or more sections.

"These sections can move independently of one another and could result in imminent failure and the collapse of the tree, particularly in strong winds."

Image caption There is still 15m left of the trunk standing - this is part of the dismantled tree

"The damage to the tree and the risk of it collapsing was such that we had no choice but to take it down."

As the tree was so high, it had to be dismantled by a tree surgeon in sections and the trunk now stands at 15m.

Mr Whitley intends to commission a sculpture to be carved from the trunk "as a lasting memorial to the tree".

There are also plans to use some of the wood from the tree for school projects, while other sections might be auctioned off as souvenirs.

The UK's tallest tree is a Douglas fir near Dunans Castle in Argyll, Scotland.

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