A large mature horse chestnut tree next to Bakewell’s medieval bridge is to be felled and replaced after becoming unsafe due to disease.
The tree, thought to be more than 100 years old, stands beside the Castle Inn and is suffering from “bleeding canker,” a widespread disease that has affected horse chestnuts across Britain.
It is expected that the tree, which is 18 metres high (60 feet), will be felled on or around Wednesday December 12, subject to weather.
Tree officers from the Peak District National Park Authority have been working with the Haddon Estate, which owns the tree, to monitor its condition for some time. The tree stands next to one of Bakewell’s busiest roads and they feared it could become dangerous.
This Spring they consulted an independent arboricultural consultant who confirmed their view that the tree was a safety risk. He reported numerous strips of dead bark, dying foliage and the recent loss of two branches. Removing branches would not cure the disease, he said, and he recommended it should be replaced.
National park tree conservation officer David Goodwin said: “Haddon estate manager Mike Elliot and I have become increasingly concerned about the condition of the tree over the past few years.
“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 lightly.
“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.”