Tree falls in busy Harpenden road

A 120-YEAR-OLD tree fell suddenly across a busy through road in Harpenden after torrential rain across the district last weekend.

The copper beech tree came crashing down on Milton Road on Saturday, closing the road for over four hours as Herts Highways and the police attempted to move it.

Johanna Gregory, who lives in Milton Road close to where the tree fell, said she had been sitting in her house when she suddenly heard a noise. “It wasn’t a terribly huge noise but when I looked out of the window, the tree was no longer standing.

“I was very surprised, of course, and thanking God that it hadn’t hurt anybody. It could easily have fallen this way, into the house, and been so very different.”

A neighbour said: “Milton Road is a wide Victorian street, yet this tree blocked it from side to side. There had been a bit of rain over the past few days, and one of the police officers on the scene thought that might have undermined the tree’s support and sent it crashing down.

“There was no warning and it’s a miracle that nobody was killed when it came down as they could have easily been crushed beneath its branches. The homeowners must be relieved it fell away from their property as it would have caused a huge amount of damage had it gone the other way.

“Herts Highways often come in for a lot of criticism over the standard of our roads but I was very impressed by how swiftly they acted to saw up the tree and clear the road again.”

Most Read

A tree surgeon was called to the scene and cleared the carriageway, enabling it to be reopened at around 9pm. The footpath remained blocked overnight but Herts Highways returned on Sunday morning with heavy lifting equipment to take away larger parts of the tree.