(March 1980) Farewell to a giant

For possibly 250 to 300 years there has stood in Ditch Acre hedge next to the graveyard, in Judy King’s property a great natural landmark.

That is until February 19th, when this tree, an East Anglian Elm (Ulmus Diversifolia), was felled. At least, what remained of it, for huge branches had been periodically breaking off in recent years. Originally it must have been around 90 feet high. The tree was dead as from last Autumn; but not altogether through Dutch disease.

Some seven years ago this elm was identified by Miles Hadfield, arborologist consultant to Kew Gardens, along with a Wisley colleague, who both averred that, apart from East Anglia where they are common, only one other of this species was known in England, that in Hampshire.

Thus the village has lost another unique feature, for its great lateral arms framed the landscape and yet its tiny leaves lent an almost mosslike envelope to its branches.

We trust that another native tree may be set there to replace it.

Frank Rollett