A Tree which stands in a Lake District wood is the tallest in Cumbria and could be the largest in the North West.
The 57.8-metre giant grand fir in Skelghyll Wood, Ambleside, has also been recorded as the tallest of its species in England, breaking the previous Cumbrian record of 55 metres, which was held by a conifer at Thirlmere.
National Trust ranger John Pring got the idea to get the tree measured and recorded by the National Tree Register charity when driving through Ambleside.
He said: “I’ve driven on that main road (A591) in Ambleside for a long time and I just thought: ‘That really is a very big tree, I wonder how big it is? We were surprised just how tall it was when we measured it. There are some very big trees in the area but we didn’t realise how tall it actually was. This is just one of the thousands of big old trees the National Trust looks after in the area.”
Mr Pring, who has covered Windermere and Ambleside for 20 years, is now encouraging nature lovers to go to Skelghyll Wood and see the true scale of how tall the trees are for themselves and the grand fir, which was planted in 1860, looks set to continue growing and could push the 60-metre mark unless there are any accidents such as a storm blowing it over.
The tree was measured by tree climbers Mark Sigrift and Mick Lupton of Aspen Tree Management in Witherslack by dropping a long tape measure and using a badminton pole to attach a tape measure. “It just shows that the tree is happy with the climate there,” said Mr Pring. It’s only 160 years old so it is still growing.”
ONE of the most important collections of watercolour paintings in the world is heading our way.
More than 40 works from the exquisite holdings of Sir Hickman Beckett Bacon (1855-1945), an avid collector of English watercolours between 1895 and the First World War, will be on show at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, from January 12 until April 14.
Now owned by Sir Nicholas Bacon, the precious paintings will be loaned to the Kendal gallery for its next exhibition - Turner and his Contemporaries: The Hickman Bacon Watercolour Collection.
Abbot Hall chief executive Gordon Watson was thrilled at the prospect of the eminent display, which should have the eyes of the nation’s arts world focused on the important regional gallery.
In fact, a fitting time to stage such a grand show as Abbot Hall celebrates a half century since its opened its celebrated doors.
Gordon added: “Fifty years ago on September 28, 1962, Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret officially opened the gallery and since then Abbot Hall has established itself as one of the most significant and ambitious galleries in the north of England.”
Rarely aired in public, the collection will be shown alongside highlights from Abbot Hall’s own permanent collection of watercolours.
Sir Nicholas said that he was delighted to be able to lend the paintings to Abbot Hall.
He continued: “My great uncle Sir Hickman Bacon (Hicky) had unusual tastes for his time and thus the collection is very strong in the type of late, ethereal Turner watercolours that only became widely popular with the advent of abstract painting in the 1940s and 50s. Equally, John Sell Cotman, an artist who had only just emerged from total obscurity, was of particular interest.
“Hicky’s collection represents English watercolour painting at its greatest; like so many collectors he was not interested by the fashion of the day, but he was committed to collecting those objects which fulfilled his heartfelt love of beauty.”
Born in 1855 into a family of landed gentry, Sir Hickman was educated at Eton. He joined the army, later returning to his old-fashioned family mansion. He suffered from ill health early in his life, and remained a bachelor until he died in 1945. He also collected fabrics, wall hangings, ceramics and Japanese prints – a collection he gave to the Japanese Government.
Abbot Hall collections manager Nick Rogers said that an exhibition of watercolours from the ‘remarkable’ Hickman Bacon collection was a cause for celebration wherever it was held. He added: “That it is taking place in Kendal, Cumbria, is particularly appropriate, as this is an area that played a significant role in the development of watercolour as the medium of choice for the itinerant artist in the late 18th and early 19th Century.”