150-year-old beech tree felled

A MAJESTIC beech tree – a landmark at the southern approach to Ely Cathedral – has had to be felled because it was unsafe. The beech, which had reached a height of 29 metres (95ft), was more than 150 years old. In 1997, a routine inspection by an independ

A MAJESTIC beech tree - a landmark at the southern approach to Ely Cathedral - has had to be felled because it was unsafe.

The beech, which had reached a height of 29 metres (95ft), was more than 150 years old.

In 1997, a routine inspection by an independent arboricultural consultant revealed a fungal disease which had spread through much of the trunk of the tree and he concluded that it had a safe life expectancy of less than 10 years.

The beech stood in the garden of Priory House, home to King's Junior School boarders.


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King's School's grounds staff have carried out regular inspections of the tree, and last April another detailed forensic arboricultural consultant's report confirmed that internal decay had spread to such an extent that the beech was now unsafe and should come down.

East Cambridgeshire District Council's tree officer was in agreement. Following consultations with City of Ely councillors, ward district councillors and the cathedral's Dean and Chapter, none of whom raised any objections, tree surgeons were called in and the tree came down on February 12.

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The school's bursar, Col Michael Vacher, said: "We were all sad to see the beech go but the extent of the decay meant that we had no alternative. The next gale could have toppled the tree across the footpath."

Once the area had been cleared, Col Vacher said a replacement tree would be planted.

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