Westminster Christmas tree makes journey from Kielder Forest

Forestry workers fell the Sitka spruce tree in Northumberland's Kielder Forest
Forestry workers must ensure the tree is not damaged when it is felled

A "perfect" 40ft (12m) Christmas tree which will stand in the shadow of Big Ben has been felled, ahead of its journey from Northumberland to London.

The Sitka spruce, grown at Kielder Forest, will take up a prominent position near the Houses of Parliament.

Forestry England workers carefully felled the 40-year-old tree before it was wrapped and put on a lorry for its 330-mile (530km) journey south.

It was selected from about 150 million trees growing in the forest.

The site has been supplying trees to stand at the foot of Great Clock of Westminster, widely known as Big Ben (which is actually the name of the bell) for more than 20 years, according to Richard Cooper, of Forestry England.

'Pride of place'

He said: "I fell and plant a lot of trees every year, but this is always the most special. It's got to be perfect.

"It's not just about how good it looks in the forest, it's a real skill to bring it down safely and transport it all the way to London without causing any damage.

"So many people from all over the world will see it lit up and I'm really proud to see something from our corner of Northumberland take pride of place."

The felled tree being wrapped by forestry workers
The tree is wrapped so that it can be transported to London

Kielder supplies around 180 civic trees every Christmas, including trees sent to Ipswich, Sheffield and Stockton, on Teesside.

It ensures a future supply of large trees by planting seedlings every year.

"It'll be someone else's job to choose the 2063 tree, but there's something very special about planting a sapling with such a unique future ahead of it," said Mr Cooper.

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