Waterperry - Waterperry Gardens (Oxfordshire)
|Michael for sent the above photograph of one of the two Giant Redwoods at Waterperry House, Waterperry, Wheatley, near Oxford. Michael gave further information and also supplied measurements.
"The house is private but the grounds are open, free, to the public all year round
(apart from 4 days in July when an arts and crafts festival is put on - "Art in Action").
There are very fine gardens and garden centre, and an excellent teashop.
Heights - we used a makeshift clinometer to take two readings from accurate positions and calculated height by trigonometry.
Accuracy estimated at +/- 2ft
The older tree is 100ft +/- 2ft Girth 18.5ft. Latitude 51deg 45' 6" N Longitude 1deg 5' 27"W
It was measured with a plumb line by a regular climber about 20 yrs ago at 90ft.
Since then the top has been damaged but I think is re-growing.
The climber believed that the damage indicated that the tree was dying but I was able to quote him your research on the probability of lightning being the most likely culprit.
The younger tree is 76ft +/- 2ft Girth 10ft. Latitude, as older tree, Longitude 1deg 5' 29"
Our makeshift clinometer was a mobile phone with an angular app, used by squinting along one edge at the top of the tree and noting the reading - it recorded to the nearest degree. We knew exactly how far we were from the tree from our architectural drawings, so it was then easy to calculate the height."
Thank you Michael, it's great to include the details of your measurements and the information about the climber.
Your makeshift clinometer idea is a good tip for others that might want to measure a tree, although if their maths is not up to the mark they can simplify matters by walking back until the top is 45 degrees elevation from the horizontal so that the distance to the tree is equal to the distance to the height of the tree (allowing for the person's height and lean of the tree).
For more tips on measuring see the measuring page
Michael was subsequently lent a couple of photographs by the climber he mentioned above, and a description of the background to the climbs, subsequent events, and comments.
|"Arthur Farndell, a tree lover who also values good education, was Deputy Headmaster of St Vedast School for Boys at Queen's Gate, London SW7.
On a summer's day in 1980, at the age of 43, he took part in a Building
Fund-Raising Appeal for the School by sponsored climbs of the Giant Redwood ( Wellingtonia ) at Waterperry House.
The height of the tree had been measured by plumb line at about 90 feet. A whistle fixed 5 feet lower was used by Arthur to signal the top of his climb. On that day he made 5 ascents and raised £373.50 for the Appeal.
Arthur, who regarded himself as distinctly un-athletic, climbed the tree two or three more times on subsequent visits to Waterperry. He recently (2015) expressed an opinion that the tree was dying from the top as the pointed crown had become much blunted, with some bare uppermost branches now visible.
Since the Giant Redwood forests in their native California have specimens aged up to 3000 years, grown to heights over 250 feet, it seems that the Waterperry tree is a mere youngster and lightning damage is the most likely cause of the change in the crown. The trees are known to recover from such events and continue growing. Measured in early 2016 at about 100 feet, Arthur's tree has more than made up its loss of height.
It will be for future generations to discover just how tall the transplanted Giant Redwoods will eventually grow in the changing British climate."