Cuckmere Elms

Milton St Firle Beacon

As it was such a beautiful day yesterday, I went and photographed the trees that are ear marked for felling that I shall be using to create the Elm memorial.

To find out more about the sculpture I'm plannig to create, hopefully for the Towner Galleries East Sussex Open click HERE

Last week the huge Elm in Alfriston was felled.

Alfriston Elm

And here it is now after felling

Alfriston Elm felled

All though this tree (as far as I know) isn't going to felled- I though it needed a photo taking. A really huge mature elm- which is close by a grove of elms in Milton Street. I was chatting to the owner who told me that Roland Penrose, the famous British surrealist artist, grew up at this farm- and his neighbour remembers Roland using this tree to make a film in the 30's. Not only was the tree featured in the film but apparently a rather beautiful naked women was sited in a nest in the tree too!

Penrose Elm

Very near to the Penrose Elm is this beautiful grove of elms, a once distinct and common feature of our landscape, now almost completely lost. This is the feature I am trying to capture in my sculpture. Sadly this group will be soon felled as the next photo show they are fast dying due to Dutch Elm Disease. And what this programme is trying to achieve is the removal of the dying trees which is where the beatle lays it eggs- to try an break or serverely hamper the cycle.

Milton-St grove Longman

The Milton Strret Grove, with Windover Hill and the Longman of Wilmington in the background

Milton St Close Up

A close up of the Milton Street Elm, showing the damage done by the Beatle and its Larvea

Milton St Firle Beacon

Looking West from the Grove, Firle Beacon- a view soon to change forever. (just after I took this photo a Peacock butterfly flew up from the grass in the foreground- 6th of March!)

Folkingto Elm

And this is an Elm at Folkington.

Folkington Elm Lichen

This photo of the Folkington Elm not only shows the terrible damage the beatle does when it emerges through the bark, but look at the beatiful lush lichens growing in the crown- not only do we loose the trees, but the entire eco system that relies on the tree too.

Folkington galleries

I took this of a limb laying close by. It shows quite clearly the galleries left by the beatle and it's larve the centre line has been made by the beatle after it has bored through the bark of the recently deseased branch (killed by the trees own defense mechanism, triggered by the intruduction of the Dutch Elm fungus by the beatle browsing on the young leaf growth on the tree) eating it's way along, laying eggs alternatly along it length. The eggs then hatch in grubs who create the radial spokes, before maturing as a beatle, eating its way our of its burrow under the bark, covered in the spores of the fungus, and off to find healthy elm trees to graze on.

All the trees shown (except the Penrose Elm) are going to be the trees that supply the timber for my sculpture. We are hoping to have further talks with various groups to see if we can work out a way that the sculpture could be kept within the Cuckmere Valley, for the public to enjoy, not only as a memorial to the trees we have lost, but also to be part of and a record of the The Conservation Foundation backed project 'Ulmus Maritima' (more information HERE).


If you would like more information on the Elms and the project being run by East Sussex CC, you can contact the Dutch Elm Disease Control Officer, Anthony Becvar on 01273 335087. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Tags: Keith Pettit, Elm memorial, Elm tree