An iconic cherry tree at the Walronds may have to be removed after a lorry caused damage after becoming stuck among its branches.
The Nissin Ltd, Swindon based lorry was due to load stock from the brewery at Howden Industrial Estate on Thursday, 30 April, but the driver missed a turning on the Exeter Road A396 and tried to return via The Walronds.
With cars parked on the roadside, the lorry headed along the right hand side of the street but came to an abrupt halt when it got caught in the branches of the cherry tree.
The tree has stood at the Walronds ever since houses were built there over 60 years ago.
Grounds maintenance manager at Mid Devon District Council, Paul Osmond admitted that the tree may now have to go: “I’m pretty sure the tree will have to come out, there’s too much damage on it now.
“It appears the damage is right down along the main stem and all the rainwater would hold in there and rot it away event more, so it’s not really going to be much good.
“I’ll get our people down here in the morning, they will help clear up what’s left here before the tree officer will come and inspect it herself.
“It’s a big job and I’m hoping we will be able to deal with it by the end of the weekend.”
Hi-Line tree surgeons we called in following a request from Devon County Council to help free the trapped Mercedes lorry.
The vehicle had been trapped for over eight hours and it was nearly midnight before there enough branches had been cut away.
It’s believed the driver sought the opinion of his boss before contacting the police for assistance.
Transport controller Paul Satchell from Nissin UK travelled from Swindon with a chainsaw in an attempt to free his trapped driver.
He said: “At the end of the day, nobody has been hurt and we can replace all the damage on the vehicle.
“I’ve been working for the company for 20 years and this is the worst I’ve seen in terms of something going wrong like this.
“The driver is feeling very sick; he’s not very happy at all and a little embarrassed. I wouldn’t want it to happen to me.”
The driver who did not want to be named described the noise on impact as a loud crunch and that the sun roof on his lorry had been damaged.
Realising that trying to reverse out of the tree would only make things worse, he tried to lower the hydraulic suspension system but the tree’s branches were firmly wedged around the cabin.
Onlookers described the scenes as bizarre, but residents were very upset that they may lose their cherry tree.
One resident said: “I’ve lived here for 45 years, my wife even longer and she can remember when it was first put in so she is obviously very upset.
“This was one of the original trees that were planted when these houses were first built, it is a beauty in blossom and produces cherries at the end of the year.”
Another Walronds resident, Lillie Aitchison said: “It’s quite a sight.
“My grandparents have lived here their whole lives so they’re quite down about it because it was a beautiful tree.
“There have been people who have loved the drama, but then again some who haven’t because they care about the tree – very mixed emotions.”
The final decision on whether or not the tree will be removed will be made by Mid Devon District Council’s tree officer over the coming days.