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Here in All Saints church Purleigh stand two Wellingtonia. The tree in the photograph above stands tall and proud, and a picture of health. The other, in the photographs below, became a stark reminder of the Giant Redwood's most fearsome enemy - lightning strikes. Many of Britain's Giant Redwoods will have suffered lightning damage at some time in their long lives - it is just one of the hazards for any tall tree. Usually they will simply suffer a frazzled top and perhaps a burn mark down the trunk, but they soon recover and continue venturing upward once again. This time, things were a little different! It looks as though an immense blast had hit this tree, and as you can see in the 2005 picture, it left us with very little of the original. It had been tidied and made safe by a firm of arboriculturists. There was still plenty of green foliage on the remaining one third or so of the tree and this looked in good health, but its future had been the subject of some debate in Purleigh Parish council in September 2003. The strike happened on Monday 11th August 2003. A very black Monday indeed!


September 2013
The lightning struck tree was still growing well in 2013 ten years after the strike and had almost covered the tatty remains of its original tip with the new leaders as can be seen in the above photographs taken from opposite sides of the tree.


August 2010
In 2010 it was still standing and growing vigorously, as can be seen in the above picture of what was the top of the tree. Several new leaders can be seen growing vertically and will eventually result in one or more new trunks. It will be interesting to see the result of this growth in a few decades time.


February 2005
The above photograph shows the lightning tree as it looked in 2005.
This cemetery also boasts a nice sized Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) which is worth seeing.

Common Names and Latin Name No. Latitude and Longitude OS National Grid Elevation
(above sea-level)
Height Girth Date Measured
WGS84 OSGB36
Giant Redwood
Sequoiadendron giganteum
1 N51.68672
E0.66289
N51.68621
E0.66457
TL 84167 02018 130ft
(39.6m)
25.3m
24.7m
--
4.3m
4.3m
4.3m
September 2013
August 2010
February 2005
2 N51.68698
E0.66281
N51.68647
E0.66449
TL 84160 02047 132ft
(40.2m)
12.1m
12m
4.38m
4.35m
September 2013
August 2010
Dawn Redwood
Metasequoia glyptostroboides
3 N51.68705
E0.66269
N51.68654
E0.66437
TL 84152 02055 134ft
(40.9m)
16.8m
16.2m
--
1.5m
1.47m
1.3m
September 2013
August 2010
February 2005
Tree No. 2 was the one struck by lightning.    Girth was measured at 1.5m from ground.

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