Sidmouth’s ‘biggest’ pine felled after fungal attack

Sidholme Hotel loses Monterey Pine to fungus and rot after 147 years

ONE of Sidmouth’s largest trees, a massive Monterey Pine at Sidholme Hotel, has been felled after being attacked by fungus.

Measuring five metres round and 125 high, the 147-year-old pine, was examined by tree surgeons from Garden and Countryside Maintenance after it dropped a branch on to the lawn 80 feet below.

Chris Drake, who runs the company from Newton Poppleford, said: “James Sharp, the hotel manager, swiftly contacted me and we surveyed the tree, which showed there was a fungus called Inonotus hispidus attacking the tree and there was a large cavity showing a substantial amount of rot.”

Describing the tree as “dangerous”, Chris said it took a five man team three days to remove, with the aid of a tractor and timber trailer.

“My team love a challenge and that’s exactly what they got with this tree,” said Chris, who worked with the hotel’s health and safety officer on ways to remove the tree.

He said: “The tree was painstakingly dismantled from 125 feet until only a 70-foot trunk remained. This was then felled in one piece.

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“It was a good age. I won’t see many trees of that size in my career.”

Because of the size of the pine, no timber mill has yet accepted the tree, and it may end up as logs.

* Sidholme was built in 1826 for the sixth Earl of Buckinghamshire and was known as Richmond Lodge.