Sleeping in the Castle during the night of the storm, I felt both very snug and cosy, the shutters firmly closed and lots of blankets on the bed. Highclere Castle sits on a high chalk plateau so the wind really does howl around the walls and turrets, sometimes blowing down the chimneys into the Saloon. We slept fitfully, hoping we wouldn’t lose telephone lines and electricity, but found to our relief that they were both working when my husband went down to make a pot of tea very early at 5am. By morning the worst of the storm had passed Highclere by, and we began to discover what roads were blocked, who had lost power, as well as making sure that everybody here was alright. Driving around to check the damage, we heard on the radio some of the very sad news of those who had been caught by tide or weather.
All the staff arrived with their own storm stories of flying garden chairs or missing bird houses, and most of the staff ended up becoming experts in reversing as they tried to find clear routes up to the Castle. The storm was a reminder that today or a thousand years ago we still should have a great respect for what the weather throws at us.
Many of the trees at Highclere Castle have stood for 300-400 years so when you lose a tree you lose a sense of history and what they would have silently witnessed. A huge old Beech tree by the Temple of Diana had fallen across a Cedar of Lebanon. I hope perhaps enough of the wood might be salvaged to make use of it within the Estate today. Once the trees that have fallen are cleared over the next few weeks, it’s a chance to look at the new views created and think about what we would like to plant ourselves for the future.
We lost a 150 year old sugar maple to a storm this year. It was a sad event. I was glad that we had moved the horses to the grass just before the storm hit. I know how we felt about our 150 year old tree….I can not imagine what it would be like to lose one that was sever hundred years old….I am glad that you all are safe.
We had that huge storm in the states in New Jersey almost a year ago to the day of your storm. Your tale reminded me of the same challenges we had faced (although we were not as lucky and went without power for two weeks). When I woke the morning after I was so grateful to see that our largest and most beloved pine was still standing. Our neighbors were not as fortunate. Even though new trees can be planted, it is indeed devastating when the very old and familiar ones are taken down.
We had a big windstorm in Vancouvuer a few years back. It brought down many tall evergreens in Stanley Park. The good news was, it opened up the forest canopy and encouraged a lot of new growth. Many thanks for your vivid description of a night at Highclere during Mother Nature’s housecleaning!
We are all at the mercy of the elements.
Good news that your family and staff are all safe.
Being a tree lover I’m sad to hear of such wonderful specimens being lost – hopefully some of the beautiful wood can be put to good use.
I love the landscapes of England created by Capability Brown and enjoyed my visit to Blenheim Palace – oh what vision!
The forecast for Norfolk was wrong again we had the rain and high winds but nothing like they said. Other places did have the full force and its not easy for those areas. I cannot understand why trains are cancelled on a forecast. Surely you have to wait and see if the forecast is correct before confirming any cancelations for your area. We appear to have lost our can do attitude in Britain, and give up at the drop of a hat.
Its a pity when great trees are lost, However it does create an oppotunity to revue what has gone before and with medium and lond term planning we can turn a disaster into something better.The people around here with wood burning stoves were hoping for trees to come down for a supply of cheap/free wood but it was not to be.
Great to know all was well with you, however by watching the news, we knew of the terrible storm you were having. We live in Newfoundland, Canada. Our weather can be fierce at time’s. Today, we had our first snowfall. So happy to have found this site., thank you for accepting me and allowing me the pleasure of viewing the Castle.
It was a beautiful very old tree, such a shame. But, I am sure something nice will come from the timber salvaged.
Its very sad to lose an old friend like old Mr Beech who stood around of 300 or 400 Christmas’s, Summers, Autumns & Springs giving everyone he knew pleasure & shelter through out is long happy life. I would like to think he Wood live on in other ways for us to enjoy & have something made to remember him by..