Historic conker tree to be axed

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A landmark tree that has been in the centre of Bakewell for more than 100 years is to be felled as it is feared it could be ‘unsafe’.

Tree officers from the Peak District National Park Authority took the decision to fell the impressive horse chestnut tree, which sits next to the town’s medieval bridge and the Castle Inn, after it became infected with ‘bleeding canker’.

The disease is widespread throughout the country and tends to affect horse chestnut trees.

Used by generations for its conkers, the old horse chestnut stands 18 metres high.

National park tree conservation officer David Goodwin said: “We realise the removal of this tree will cause concern to local people and visitors, and we’d like to assure them and Bakewell Town Council that the decision to remove it wasn’t taken light.”

Tree officers from the national park authority have been working with the Haddon Estate, which owns the tree, to monitor its condition for some time.

It stands next to one of Bakewell’s busiest roads and they feared it could become dangerous.

This Spring the officers consulted an independent arboricultural consultant who confirmed their view that the tree was a safety risk.

The expert reported numerous strips of dead bark, dying foliage and the recent loss of two branches.

As removing branches would not cure the disease, it was recommended the tree should be replaced.

David continued: “Haddon estate manager Mike Elliot and I have become increasingly concerned about the condition of the tree over the past few years.

“The Haddon estate intends to plant a replacement tree – not a horse chestnut, but a similarly large native species – so that the classic view of Bakewell bridge will be restored.

“The new tree will be placed slightly further away from the wall to avoid future problems.”

The authority plan to chop the tree down on or around next Wednesday subject to weather conditions.