Eunice vs Chestnut vs Volvo

When storm Eunice hit the South Hams on Friday morning, thousands of trees were damaged or uprooted. One particularly elderly victim was a veteran Horse Chestnut on the Fallapit Estate, near Kingsbridge. Measuring over 25m tall, and weighing in at an estimated 9 tonnes, it fell to the ground with incredible velocity, shattering itself and sending wooden shrapnel flying in all directions.

Luckily, nobody was around when it let go, so the only victims were a couple of small Silver Birch and a brand new Volvo XC60. But trees can be replanted, and cars can be replaced.

One of the residents contacted the property management company to inform them, who in turn, contacted Skywalkers DTS. Time was most certainly of the essence, as access to the residential properties on the estate was completely blocked by the fallen Chestnut.

The first task was to free the trapped car from under a very large limb, so it could be safely moved away, and no further damage could be done (although it will almost certainly be a write-off).

Once the car was safely out of the way, we set about carefully dismantling the large limbs and trunks. Fallen trees can be extremely unpredictable. Vast amounts of energy can be stored under tension or compression, so it’s critical that the energy is released as gently as possible. One overzealous cut, and a limb could kick out with incredible force, causing serious injury, or worse.

Even for seasoned professionals, reading tension and compression can sometimes be difficult, but on this occasion the tree has smashed itself up so much, there was a minimal amount to release before we could get on with the clear up operation of cutting up the timber into manageable sizes logs and chipping the vast amounts of brash.

With five pairs of boots on the ground, the road and driveway was completely cleared before dark.

If you have a fallen tree to deal with, please get in touch.