Relief due from relentless rain
5:30am Tuesday 7th January 2014 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
SWINDON should finally have some relief from the wet weather which has battered the town for the best part of two weeks from this evening onwards.
Wind and rain conspired to put roof tiles and windows under serious pressure yesterday. Much of the same should follow this morning, with heavy rain forecast through the night and into the afternoon.
Wind will be gusting as high as 37mph in the early hours, and will not relent until 6pm at the earliest, when the rain will also pass off.
Apart from a brief return from the rain in the middle of Wednesday night, the town should remain dry.
There will even be some sun for residents on Wednesday morning, but low temperatures can be guaranteed with the absence of cloud.
By the time Friday comes around, temperatures will drop to 30C, but it is likely to feel closer to -1, with the wind chill.
Wiltshire Police received a high number of weather related calls over the weekend and yesterday.
At 9pm a tree came down in Purton and officers were called to make the scene safe, while Welcombe Avenue was also reported to be flooded at 8pm.
Police also received several reports of standing water in Broad Hinton throughout the day on Sunday.
At 4.50am yesterday a car crashed on the M4 between Swindon and Membury due to hailstones.
Wiltshire Fire & Rescue and South West Ambulance Service reported no calls from our area yesterday, despite the heavy weather.
A spokesperson for the ambulance service said they were pleased the public had heeded the warnings put out by emergency services.
Park’s oldest tree is destroyed in storm
LYDIARD Park’s oldest tree, which has stood as a beacon welcoming visitors for centuries, has been blown over during the gale-force winds which struck Swindon over the festive period.
The ancient walnut tree, which dates back to the mid-1700s and was planted when the St John family lived there, was discovered lying on its side on the morning of Christmas Eve following the severe weather which hit Swindon before and during the Christmas period.
Groundsman Andrew Dyre, who has been working at the park for more than three years, was the first person to come across the felled tree.
“It was quite a sad moment, it was one of the biggest specimens in the park,” said Andrew, 49. “I think quite a few people will be sad to see it gone.”
Stuart Webb beside the fallen tree in Lydiard Park
For a number of years the tree, which is five metres in circumference, had been rotting from the inside with a number of cavities being discovered in its trunk. This led to the estate and park land manager Stuart Webb to have a small fence constructed around it to ensure it had the best chance of survival.
Its position on the main lawn means there will be a huge hole left in the landscape for visitors who come and visit the park.
“Unfortunately we could not account for the storms that we have been experiencing,” said Stuart. “We had put up the fence to give it the best chance of survival and to make sure people could not get too close to it.
“It was an absolutely marvellous specimen – really majestic. You could not help but love it.
“It had real character and was a big part of the landscape.”
Due to the wood rotting Stuart said it was hard to take samples to determine the exact date when the tree was first planted but maps suggest it has been growing since 1750.
Stuart said it has not been settled yet what will happen to the wood but the park hopes to find a fitting tribute.
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