13 Jan 2014

A neighbourhood tree story

Early Saturday morning we opened our curtains to this beautiful sky with the winter trees silhouetted
against it.
With so much uncultivated land at the back of our house I enjoy the view throughout the seasons, especially the mature deciduous trees.  However, when I chose my last header (above) I had no thoughts about the fact that this familiar skyline would change.  It's difficult to tell from my photograph, but there's now a big gap between the fir trees on the left and the first deciduous tree on the right and the loss of what was a beautiful horse chestnut was so swift I was not able to capture the procedure to cut it down.
It happened last week.  As you know, we've been experiencing extreme weather in the UK.  We live
three quarters of the way up a hill before it levels out onto the common land at the top and we're sheltered in the lee of the land.  The trees at the back of our house are more exposed, although they do give us extra shelter.
We were having our breakfast one morning and could here the noise of an electric saw.  On looking out of the kitchen window I noticed that the crown of the horse chestnut tree had disappeared and it seemed as if the truck was also being felled.  In a matter of an hour the tree had completely gone from our view.


When all was clear and the weather had improved I went down the narrow lane by our house to see
what was left of the tree which had been growing by the original wall of the old estate. (The above photos were taken in the Autumn and the one below was taken last week).  It's possible to see the old lodge house more clearly.
It's a shame that the tree had to be felled, possibly because it was a safety hazard on a bend in the very narrow lane or because there were signs of a disease which had weakened it. Then it would have been a danger to those who use the no-through thoroughfare.
Apparently half the horse chestnut trees in Britain are showing signs of a disease called bleeding canker and this is beginning to threaten our beautiful mature trees.  Like other native and European deciduous trees it's possible that many mature horse chestnut trees will succumb to the disease in time especially as there's no known treatment for it, which is thought-provoking.  The horse chestnut tree has been part of our heritage and childhood experiences i.e. 'under the spreading chestnut tree' song, making doll's house furniture, kicking the leaves about on autumn days looking for those conkers and using them for playground conker games - although such games have been banned in some primary schools for health and safety reasons!! - leaving it to the adults to participate in 'conker battles'.

Above is what's left of the tree which has been cut down as close as possible it seems to the path.
Can you see the heart shape in the stump?  I love trees and I'm sorry to see the loss of this one for whatever reason.
We did find a good space to plant our Christmas tree in the corner of the new vegetable patch in the back garden, but although it's a token gesture for the environment it's not quite the same as planting a deciduous or fruit tree for future generations to enjoy to replace those that have to be felled, which we would do if we had more room. 



  1. Such a shame it had to go. I love all trees but I especially like Horse Chestnut trees.

  2. i like that cute little Christmas tree... and so sorry to see the beautiful tree gone and about the disease. same thing is happening here in Florida to our fruit trees and i am afraid ours might be sick... it did not put out the fruit this year that it has every other year and it looks a little peaked.
    I see the heart and it looks like half of a four leave clover at first glance.

  3. What a shame - I love Horse Chestnut trees and it is sad to hear about the disease and how it may affect them. I noticed last time we walked around the lake at Trentham that a couple of the Beech trees - another of my favourite trees - had been taken down, whether for safety reasons or because of disease I don't know. Like you I hate to see trees disappear and familiar skylines change:)

  4. It is sad when trees have to be cut down for whatever reason, especially our native deciduous trees. We have lost rather a lot of trees here in Suffolk, in the winter storms but for us there is a silver lining. A tree came down recently in our neighbour's garden and revealed the beautiful view that had been lost to our house for many years - literally a masterpiece as painted by Constable which gives me endless pleasure.

  5. Such a shame if a tree is lost. Better if it is dangerous or sick for it to be removed rather than fall down randomly, but still sad. At least you have other trees to look out onto which is nice. Hope that your christmas tree does well. xx

  6. It's always a shame when trees have to come down... at least you have some photos to remember it by. Jx

  7. The heart of the tree looks perfectly healthy from your photo so I wonder why they cut it down.
    Saturday was a glorious day - what a huge sun we had first thing in the morning.
    We have a little christmas tree, still to plant, but I am putting it in a very large terracotta pot by the front door, and hopefully next year it will have lights on it, but outside.

  8. Your sunrise photo looks gorgeous Linda. Shame about the tree but as you say there was obviously a good reason for felling it. Good luck with your Christmas tree.
    Patricia x

  9. Yes, sad to see a tree cut down. We had to have quite a few removed when we moved here, because they posed a risk to the house! No choice really, but there is a lot more light now which is some compensation.

  10. Awwww. I hate it when trees are cut down. All those years of growing and then cut. I'm so sorry for so many trees lately getting these dratted diseases! I'm going out in the morning and hugging the tree in my yard!

  11. It's always so sad to lose a mature tree. My house sits among lots of mature trees and although I hate raking the leaves in the fall, I love my beautiful trees. They do get scarey during storms, but they give so much in return.

  12. I love trees also and am always sad when someone cuts one down.. Sometimes, there is a good reason and sometimes, NOT….

    Beautiful sky photo…

    I'm a little shaken tonight. We had a near-miss-head-on car accident this afternoon when a car was coming straight toward us in OUR lane. We swerved and went into the ditch. Luckily, we are fine and no damage to the car --other than being dirty. BUT--we were just lucky that the ditch wasn't steep…. SCARY!


  13. That's such a shame. I do hope there was a reason for its demise and it hasn't come down unnecessarily. It's so sad to lose these beautiful mature trees, it takes years for another to replace it. I'm sorry to hear about your sister in law, I do hope she's now on the mend. It's times like these when you really want to be near family, it's so very hard to be apart sometimes.

  14. How sad to see a beautiful tree cut down and how worrying to hear of that disease! I love conkers and always collect them and put them in bowls. How bitter sweet to see the little heart in the stump....awwh!
    Glad to see your little Christmas tree is planted out. You'll be able to put lights on it next year.xxx

  15. It's always such a loss. We had Dutch Elm disease a few years back and lost many beautiful trees.

  16. hello
    toujours beaucoup de chagrin de voir un arbre disparaitre
    j'ai moi -même acheté un champs pour protéger 12 grands chênes
    une pensée pour votre belle soeur ♥♥♥

  17. Can they stop the spread of the disease by removing suspect diseased trees early? Maybe it was preventative. Still, trees take a lifetime to grow. I'm always sad to see a tree go.

    1. I should think that might have been the strategy with this particular tree i.e. to stop the spread of the disease. However, the tree is also growing in the middle of a walkway near a sharp bend in the lane where there's a blind spot so another possibility is that it was cut down for the safety of pedestrians who might otherwise step into the road.

  18. Hi Linda,

    the sunrise photo is so pretty and must have been lovely looking out the window.
    Sad when big beautiful trees are cut down, and good that you were able to plant the little Christmas tree in your garden.
    Happy day

  19. It is always so sad to lose a beautiful tree. I did immediately notice the heart.
    So glad at least you were able to plant your Christmas tree.

  20. not the horse-chestnut as well! Isn't it bad enough that we've lost the elm and look likely to lose many of our ash trees? I have such fond memories of collecting conkers as a child. :-)

  21. How sad the horse chestnut was cut down. Can you water the stump? It may grow back to one day be an inspiring tree.
    I hope you can plant some tiny replacement chestnut trees somewhere. Bless you for caring, I do too.

  22. We lost an entire kind of tree in the U.S. several decades ago and now have a problem with another kind. Hope they find something to stop you from losing all of your chestnut trees there!