A 43-foot Christmas tree which will stand at the foot of Big Ben has been felled and will start its 330-mile journey south.
The prime Sitka spruce was one of the 150 million trees growing in Kielder Forest, Northumberland, and was selected by Forestry England experts for its thick foliage and impressive dimensions.
The 40-year-old tree has been put through a large baler to protect its limbs for the trip to London on the back of a low-loader.
Kielder has been asked to supply the Big Ben tree for over twenty years and it’s something we are immensely proud of
Richard Cooper, Forestry England
Richard Cooper, of Forestry England, said: “We’ve put a lot of work into picking just the right specimen.
“But no matter how many years we do this it’s still a bit nerve-wracking watching the tree being felled.
“It’s vital we keep everything intact to preserve its film-star looks.
“Kielder has been asked to supply the Big Ben tree for over twenty years and it’s something we are immensely proud of.
“The forest is one of the few able to meet this demand and it’s a great accolade for everyone past and present who cares for this special place.”
Kielder will supply more than 200 super-sized Christmas trees to towns and cities across the UK this year.
To ensure sustainability, seedlings from previously selected civic trees have been planted in the 63,000-hectare (155,000 acre) woodland which, with careful nurturing, could still be featuring in city centre displays in Westminster in 40 years.