Two trees have gone to war in a debate over the UK’s largest plane tree.
The two trees, in Cheam and Carshalton, are both contenders for the title of the tallest in the country.
The plane tree in the Ecology Centre grounds, in Carshalton, has been considered the biggest tree for years, but now it is being challenged by a tree in the formal gardens in front of the Nonsuch Mansion House, in Cheam.
The Carshalton tree is believed to be around 123ft tall and 20ft around the trunk, although the 200-year-old tree has not been officially measured since 1964.
Cheam councillor Mary Burstow said the tree at Nonsuch is rarely seen, because it is behind a number of other trees, but she wants to make sure people know it exists.
She added: “The tree is hidden away and very few know about it, despite its size. There is a sign nearby which says ‘keep off the grass’ so people do not tend to go there. It’s a sleeping giant.”
Mary Buckton, education officer at the Ecology Centre, said: “The tree at the ecology centre has a resident called Sticky the squirrel. If he found out there was somewhere better to go, he may leave. He got his name as he climbs to the top of the tree and tries to jump onto another tree, invariably falling – usually into the beehive.”
Experiments have been carried out in an attempt to measure the girth of the trees. The Ecology Centre can fit 15 children round the tree holding hands and the Nonsuch tree can fit six adults holding hands.