A 40ft Christmas tree which will stand at the foot of Big Ben has been felled and will start making its 330-mile journey south.

The Sitka spruce was selected from among the 150 million trees in Kielder Forest, Northumberland, and will stand in one of the most prominent positions in Westminster.

Forestry England workers carefully felled the 40-year-old pine to avoid damaging it, before it was wrapped and put on a lorry for the journey to London.

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Beat Forester Richard Cooper, of Forestry England, said: “I fell and plant a lot of trees every year but this is always the most special – it’s got to be perfect.

“Kielder Forest has been supplying the tree to stand alongside Big Ben for over 20 years.

“It’s not just about how good it looks in the forest, it’s a real skill to bring it down safely and transport it all the way to London without causing any damage.

“So many people from all over the world will see it lit up and I’m really proud to see something from our corner of Northumberland take pride of place.”

Forestry Journal:

Kielder supplies around 180 civic trees every Christmas, including to Ipswich, Sheffield and Stockton on Tees.

It ensures the future supply of large trees by planting seedlings every year.

Mr Cooper said: “It’ll be someone else’s job to choose the 2063 tree, but there’s something very special about planting a sapling with such a unique future ahead of it.”