Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 11:59 UK

Fir 'is tallest tree in England'

View from the top of the fir
Crews on the ground (inset) check the pole is at the top of the tree

A Douglas fir in Somerset is England's tallest tree, an expert has claimed.

The tree, near Dunster, was climbed by Arboriculture student Laurence Parker, from Sparsholt College in Hampshire, who measured it at 197ft (60.02m).

David Alderman from the Tree Register said the fir had been the "champion" for a few years and that the climb had confirmed its laser measurements.

He said a 57-58m Douglas fir in Northumberland, had previously been thought to be England's tallest tree.

"This has been the champion for a few years now, the climb has just confirmed our laser measurements and was the reason the climbers went there," said Mr Alderman.

"A Douglas fir at Cragside Northumberland has previously been advertised as tallest tree in England but latest measurements suggest it is 57-58m," he said.

Mr Parker took two hours to climb the tree as part of an organised and supervised Sparsholt College tree climbing practical session.

When he had climbed as high as he could a 5m pole was held so that it touched the top. A 328ft (100m) tape measure was then dangled to the ground.

Earlier this year Sparsholt College lecturer Mark Tansley and three colleagues from the Tall Trees Project Team carried out the hunt of the UK's tallest tree in Scotland.

They climbed a Douglas fir in Argyll and named it the tallest tree in the United Kingdom at 209ft (63.8m).

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