When news happens, text ROMS and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
St Jude storm leaves a trail of destruction
SUNDAY night’s violent storm left a trail of destruction in its wake across the Romsey area.
Scores of trees and electricity lines were brought down and train services were badly disrupted by the tempest on the feast day of St Jude.
Bosses at the National Trust’s Mottisfont Estate are counting the cost after a large specimen Indian bean tree in the grounds of the former Augustinian priory was uprooted by the stormforce winds that lashed the area late Sunday night and the early hours of Monday.
The bean tree, which stood near the Saxon spring from which Mottisfont takes its name, was in full leaf and laden with runner bean-like fruits.
Head gardener, David Stone, said: “I was sad to see the end of such a fine tree.”
Senior gardener, Howard Brisland, explained more about the storm’s effect on the Mottisfont Estate.
He said: “We have had sizable branches come down all over the gardens and estate.
In the garden, we have lost the much admired Catalpa speciosa “Indian bean tree”
between the Font and Stable block.
“This unusual specimen was planted around 1961 under direction of Graham Stuart Thomas, who later established our world famous collection of pre-1900 roses. We will be looking to replant this tree.
“The worst damage is along the Abbey Stream from the Fisherman’s Hut to the Oakley bridge. Here eight large beech trees, one ash and one horse chestnut have either been uprooted or snapped off, with one landing on the Fisherman’s Hut and six coming down in the river. This is causing a damming effect which flooded the parkland.
“We have managed to divert some water while we are busy clearing this so as to avoid any more serious flooding over the winter.
“The Fisherman’s hut has only suffered minimal damage.
It was rebuilt in 1988 after the Great Storm of ’87 when it was all but destroyed by a falling tree.”
Staff spent hours with chainsaws cutting up the Indian bean tree which was more than 40 feet tall and over 50 years old.
Barbara Needham an outdoor tour guide at Mottisfont was also saddened to see the tree go. “A lot of people really love trees and we have recently started a tree walk for visitors.
“One of the trees we featured was that Indian bean tree, but sadly no more,” said Barbara, adding: “It is also known as the cigar tree in the United States, as the long ‘beans’ often stay on the tree after the leaves have fallen.”
Barbara recalled that in the summer, the tree looked what she described as “particularly handsome”, with masses of white flowers that had recently turned into long “beans”.
A large beech tree alongside the Abbey Stream walk at Mottisfont was also toppled in the storm. And several boughs were brought down on a large weeping willow tree at Romsey’s Riverside Gardens.
Phil Godwin, who lives there, said: “The tree at the rear of my house lost two very large branches and just missed a wall and cars. Luckily, no-one was hurt. It looks amazing.” Rail services were also badly hit. South West Trains, which serve Dean, Mottisfont & Dunbridge and Romsey stations, didn’t run any trains until after midday.
First Great Western trains, which stop at Romsey, did run a service after the rush hour. Delays on all services continued throughout the day following the earlier disruption caused by fallen trees.
In general, Romsey district escaped the worst of the weather, but some areas around Sherfield English and Braishfield did lose power supplies and other villages experienced disruption.
A Southern Electric spokesperson said more than 1,000 engineers were drafted in to restore supplies to 82,000 customers across its power distribution network.
“The weather had the greatest impact on parts of rural Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset,” said the spokesperson.
Roads across the area were affected by fallen trees. These included the A3057 between Romsey and Mottisfont, the A3090 at Ampfield and near Gardener’s Lane turning, at East Wellow.
The B3084 between Romsey and Awbridge, the A343 at Middle Wallop, the B3084 at Broughton, Oakley Road and Mottisfont Lane at Mottisfont, Brickworth Corner at Whiteparish, Kimbridge Lane at Kimbridge, along with Bakers Drove and Lakeside Avenue at Rownhams were also affected by fallen trees.
Many rural roads were also covered in deep surface water following the heavy rain that accompanied the storm, which was the worst for about five years.
Around 100 roads across the county were partially or fully closed because of fallen trees brought down by winds gusting between 60mph and 80mph. Nearly 33mm of rain was recorded at Mottisfont during Sunday and Monday’s wet and stormy conditions.
County highway teams with chainsaws worked to clear blocked roads. Hampshire’s cabinet spokesman for the environment, Sean Woodward, said teams did a fine job clearing up stormdebris.
“I have only the highest praise for all county council staff and staff from Amey our contractors who have been out in terrible conditions to keep Hampshire moving during and after, one of the worst storms in a decade. It is a timely reminder to the public how crucial local government services area.”
Comments are closed on this article.