HOUGHTON Lodge Gardens, located in the Test Valley, Hampshire, can now proudly say it is home to Britain’s widest pear tree.

The gardens are overlooked by a Grade II listed historic house and boast a fantastic walled kitchen garden, home to a heritage orchard with many historic apple and pear trees that were grown over a hundred years ago. 

Located to the right of the walled garden gate is the espalier Pear Beurre Diel. Spanning the west-facing wall, this magnificent pear tree has a width of 16.33 metres.

The fruit tree has been recognised by the Champion Tree Register and awarded its status as a Champion Tree. As such, it will join the register as the widest of its species in Britain. Champion trees are, according to the Royal Forestry Society, individual trees which are exceptional examples of their species because of their enormous size, great age, rarity or historical significance. 

Houghton Lodge owner, Sophie Busk, 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 Germain 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.”

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