Grand silver fir - Abies grandis
The Old Man of Kent, once the tallest tree in Kent, is no more. It was cut down in the summer of 2016 following a lighting strike during storm Katie which further weakened a tree that was already diseased and in poor physiological shape. This grand silver fir (Abies grandis) was planted in 1840 by Viscount Marshall Beresford, former owner of the Bedgebury estate and a Field Marshall in Wellington’s army. It measured 167ft in height (51 metres), 131cm in diameter and over 30 cubic metres in volume. At some point in its history, it had been spilt and so it had two main 'leaders' spiralling upwards.
The grand fir is native to America's Pacific coast and the Rocky Mountains. It was first discovered by David Douglas in 1825 and introduced to Britain in 1830.
In September 2015, Bedgebury Pinetum staff collected seeds from this species in the wild. These seeds have now been propagated and in due course will be planted across the Pinetum.