Country's Tallest Christmas Tree

9 November 2010, 00:00

The Tallest Christmas Tree in the country is being decorated today and once it's lit can be seen in the air by pilots landing at Gatwick Airport

On Tuesday November 9 expert tree climbers will be using ropes, specialist climbing gear, and two high level platforms, to festoon a giant redwood tree in the grounds of Wakehurst Place near Haywards Heath with 1,800 Christmas lights.

The towering tree is believed to be the largest Christmas tree in the country and rigging the lights on it takes up to nine hours.

Decorating the tree is carried out by arborists from Wakehurst’s Conservation and Woodland team and work starts shortly after first light. While one of the team scales the tree, colleagues pass the lights over from two high level work platforms. Views from the tree-top platforms over the 500 acre Wakehurst estate and surrounding countryside are stunning, but there’s little time to enjoy the scenery!

The first bulb is put into place at around 8am, by midday half the bulbs are usually up, and the finishing touches are made to the tree as dusk falls.

The tree will form the centrepiece of Christmas festivities at Wakehurst and will be switched on at a ceremony on Friday November 26.

Iain Parkinson, Wakehurst’s Conservation and Woodland Manager, says:

“It’s a bit like decorating the tree at home – but on a giant scale! We have to lay out the lights on the grass beforehand to check from any broken bulbs and unravel any tangles.

“Getting 1,800 lights in place is a long job, but it is always worth it when we see the tree lit up and decorating the tree marks the start of the build up to Christmas here at Wakehurst.”