Page last updated at 20:03 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

Fungus-hit trees to be felled

Horse chestnuts (generic)
The trees will need to be felled after the disease struck

More than 40 diseased horse chestnut trees are to be cut down at Barrington Court, near Ilminster in Somerset.

The National Trust decided the trees would have to be felled after it was discovered they were infected with a fungus called bleeding canker.

An avenue of chestnuts that lined the entrance to the Avebury estate in Wiltshire has already been felled.

Experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have compared the problem to Dutch Elm Disease.

The disease causes branches of the chestnut trees to die and drop off.

Horticulturalists have suggested planting hybrids that are resistant to the canker, and also choosing different species that can tolerate drier summers.

Latest figures reveal there are about 470,000 horse chestnut trees in Britain, of which 432,000 are in England.

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