A TOWERING tree that has welcomed people to Penlee Park in Penzance for more than a century is being chopped down today.
A crane has been set up in Penlee car park and the area by the Coach House has been fenced off to enable contractors to fell the huge beech tree.
The tree, which is believed to be around 120 years old, became infected with a deadly fungus and, following expert advice, Penzance Town Council took the decision to fell the tree amid safety fears.
Councillor John Moreland, chairman of the Penlee House and Park Committee, said: "It is tragic because it is a beautiful tree and it was listed as a Cornish heritage tree.
"It is going to leave a big hole but we do want as much as possible to use the timber."
The beech was found to have Meripilus Giganteus, also known as Giant Polypore which could leave the tree unstable and dangerous in built-up urban areas.
After seeking opinions from three separate tree specialists, the town council decided there was no option but to fell it. They fear that if the tree is already unstable, autumn storms could topple it or cause branches to fall on to the footpath, car park or nearby homes.
The tree is being cut down into smaller logs and the town council is appealing for sculptors and furniture makers who would put the wood to good use to contact them.
The local authority is also hoping that someone will come forward and use part of the tree to produce a sculpture for Penlee House as a reminder.
For information about the wood, call Penzance Town Council on 01736 363405.