Sadly, not everything at Chillingham survived the winter. Not long before Easter, one of the magnificent Noble Firs near the bottom car park, by the church, partially collapsed. There was not any obvious cause other than old age – we all collapse a bit as we get on!
Given its location close to the car park, it had become a danger and it had to be felled. It would have been planted about 150 years ago by the Tankervilles. At the time, it was very fashionable to plant newly introduced conifers, such as Noble & Douglas Firs, Wellingtonia and Monkey Puzzle, largely for their novelty value. Also, there was snob value attached as these newly imported trees were expensive and hence were planted around the finest houses and estates.
Conifers have been given a bad name by blocks of unthinned Sitka Spruce producing little of visual or ecological interest. But do take a look at the specimen trees at Chillingham. There are some wonderful trees. Not all conifers are bad!