A TEST Valley tourist attraction owner is celebrating after a pear tree was crowned the "widest" in Britain.

Houghton Lodge owner, Sophie Busk, revealed the gardens' pear tree was awarded Champion Tree status, which are "exceptional examples of their species because of their enormous size, great age, rarity or historical significance", according to the Royal Forestry Society.

Now Sophie has announced she is "delighted" inspectors from Champion Tree Register have given the title to the Pear Beurre Dielee - branching out at 16.33 meters wide.

She said: "As part of my quest to get the pear tree into the Guinness Book of Records, a visitor suggested I contact the Champion Tree Register.

"When they inspected the tree last August, they stated they had never seen such a wide pear and I was delighted that they made it a Champion Tree.

"I decided given its new status to have the tree DNA tested, which revealed it was a Buerre Diel, and not Uvedale St Germaine as we had first thought.

"This old species of pear loves growing as an espalier, hence why it's succeeded so well growing against our wall."

The pear tree was not the only one to be recognised in the gardens, as the Champion Tree Register discovered a Golden Cappadocian Maple, Acer Cappadocicum ‘Aureum', in the plantings behind the summer house.

The tree, measuring at 15m x 182cm at 0.7m, has now been crowned the new Hampshire County champion for height and girth.

A spokesperson from Houghton Lodge Gardens said: "Houghton Lodge Gardens look forward to being able to open their doors to visitors again when it is safe to do so, where they can immerse themselves in this beautiful setting and appreciate the newly awarded status of these glorious trees."

For more information about Houghton Lodge Gardens visit www.houghtonlodge.co.uk.