Deadly disease strikes seaside city tree planted in 1613... and now it faces ...

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Sad end of ancient elm: Deadly disease strikes seaside city tree planted in 1613... and now it faces the chop The 100ft elm is one of a pair dubbed the 'Preston Park Twins' in Brighton They were planted in 1613 and grew to have trunks with a 23ft girth However, after one contracted Dutch elm disease plans have been laid to fell it

By Colin Fernandez for the Daily Mail and Jaya Narain for the Daily Mail

Published: 22:09 GMT, 1 December 2019 | Updated: 14:21 GMT, 2 December 2019

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It has stood proudly since the reign of James I.

But hit by a deadly disease, one of the oldest elm trees in Europe is now facing the axe.

The tree was one of a pair planted in Brighton around 1613. More than 100ft tall and with a 23ft girth, the ‘Preston Park Twins’ are widely believed to be among the largest and oldest English elms in the world.

But tragically one of the pair contracted Dutch elm disease earlier this year and must be felled to save its ‘twin’. Already the 400-year-old tree looks a shadow of its former self after tree surgeons had to lop off dead branches and take down the leafy canopy.

One of Britain's oldest elms is to be felled to save its neighbour after it contracted Dutch elm disease. The ancient specimen was planted in Brighton in 1613 (pictured today)

One of Britain's oldest elms is to be felled to save its neighbour after it contracted Dutch elm disease. The ancient specimen was planted in Brighton in 1613 (pictured today)

The fungus has reduced its once proud crown of leaves to a hulk of dead wood

It is pictured in Preston Park, Brighton

The fungus has reduced its once proud crown of leaves to a hulk of dead wood. It is pictured above in Preston Park, Brighton

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Now it is awaiting a date for felling, with conservationists claiming Britain has lost part of its natural heritage.

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