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More than 1,800 lights put on Britain's tallest tree

A view of Britain's tallest Christmas tree at Wakehurst Place in Sussex, fitted with an estimated 1800 lights following its official switch on Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

More than 1,800 lights have been put on Britain's tallest Christmas tree, enabling it to be used as a beacon for planes landing at nearby Gatwick Airport.

Standing at around 110ft tall, the giant redwood at Wakehurst Place near Ardingly, West Sussex, is the UK's largest living festive tree. It was first decorated outside Wakehurst's Elizabethan mansion 23 years ago, and was planted in the 1890s as one of the first exotic trees on the 500-acre estate.

It takes a team of arboriculturalists all day in two cherry pickers to put up the LED bulbs and remeasure the tree at Wakehurst, a National Trust site run by Kew Gardens.

Wakehurst's director Tony Sweeney said: "The tree is approximately 120 years old and we're expecting it to have grown around a foot. The tree has great vitality and it will continue to grow at an impressive rate for many more years to come."

The tree is one of Wakehurst's great survivors, weathering the Great Storm of 1987 and many other gales since, including Storm Barney this week. Following the decoration and testing of the lights, the illuminations will be switched on on December 4 to mark the start of Wakehurst's Glow Wild Lantern Festival.


Cows and sheep to 'work the land' at nature reserve

Seaford Head nature reserve Credit: Sojka Libor/Czech News Agency/Press Association Images

Seaford Town Council and Sussex Wildlife Trust have welcomed back sheep and cattle to graze at its Seaford Head nature reserve.

It's the second time the animals have been brought in to manage the land.

The twenty nine sheep and three cattle will help to control the vegetation.

South East pothole claims among highest in country

Drivers claiming compensation for pothole damage Credit: ITV Meridian

Drivers in Kent, East Sussex and Essex are making more claims for pothole damage to their cars than motorists in many other parts of the country.

But new research from the RAC Foundation shows these councils settle fewer claims than most other authorities.

In Essex, just 5% of drivers received compensation, in Kent it was 8% and in East Sussex, 15% of drivers who made a claim received a pay-out.

Abigail Bracken reports from Hawkhurst.

Thousands of people expected at Berkshire County Show

Newbury prepares for Berkshire County Show Credit: ITV

Thousands are expected to descend on Newbury Showground over the weekend to celebrate the county's agriculture.This year's Berkshire County Show will include the grand parade of livestock, horticulture and traditional crafts. The Newbury and District Agricultural Society was formed in 1909 with the aim of providing a show to replace the local Horse Show


  1. West Country (E)

Preparations underway for the 175th Dorset County Show

The 175-year-old event traditionally commemorates the end of harvest. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Preparations are underway this morning for the start of the Dorset County Show.

The event, which celebrates it's 175th anniversary this year, traditionally commemorates the end of harvest.

40,000 people are expected to head to the ground, near Dorchester, tomorrow and Sunday.

40,000 people are expected to head to the ground over the weekend. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Man videoed pulling the head off a bird is given criminal behaviour order

A man who was videoed pulling the head off a wood pigeon - the footage of which ended up on Facebook - has been given a criminal behaviour order.

Scott Matthew Cochrane, 25, of Poole, in Dorset, was issued with the order at Bournemouth Crown Court. He had been convicted, at the same court, six months earlier, in February, of killing a wild bird. For that offence, he had been given a six-month conditional discharge.

Part of the order states that Cochrane must not behave in an anti-social manner as to cause harassment, alarm or distress or encourage others to use threatening or insulting behaviour in a public place.

It also states he must not be allowed to be in possession of a wild animal or wild bird, living or dead.

Scott Cochrane Credit: Dorset Police

“Cochrane has been involved in a number of anti-social incidents over recent years, and he was responsible for callously killing a bird.

“This order sends a strong message that we will be tough on those who commit rural crime, animal cruelty and anti-social behaviour in Dorset.”

– Sgt Andy Napper, Dorset Police
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