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Searing heatwave sees ancient tree ‘explode’ in heat


An ancient beech tree ‘exploded’ in the heat last night, Saturday.

The tree, in Park Road, Stroud, lost branches that brought powerlines down and blocked the public pavement below. Nobody was hurt in the incident, but the damage to the popular weeping beech has raised alarm in the area, with many seemingly unaware that such a phenomenon existed.

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Branches fell onto the pavement in Park Road Pic: Ash Loveridge

“I heard a loud bang and flash and wondered what had happened,” said a resident, who heard the commotion at about 9.30pm.

“The tree is an iconic part of Stroud’s rich history and I feel so sad to see all this damage.”

Explaining how a build-up of gases inside the tree from the heat caused the violent reaction, arborist Dom Hewson said: “Extreme heat tends to cause thermal changes inside the tree in the wood tissues and also the build-up of gases inside the tree. That can be explosive and sudden.”

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Damage caused to the ancient tree Pic: Ash Loveridge

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