A TREE-MENDOUS task faced students as they looked to scale a daunting climb.

Students at Kingston Maurward College had to attempt to scale a 35 metre Sequoiadendron Giganteum tree situated on the estate’s sports field.

The level three arboriculture students climbed the tree using specialist skills honed during their course as they looked to get an accurate measurement as part of their tree survey training.

Using various estimating techniques prior to the climb the estimated height makes it the 11th tallest tree in the UK and the climb was designed to verify it.

The tree is thought to be nearly 130 years old and is part of the conifer family and could live to be up to a thousand years old.

Students used various techniques in their bid to get to the top of the tree and faced several challenges, including rain and the downwards growing branches.

Sadly, the climb had to be halted mid-afternoon due to the constant rain.

One student said: “Climbing this tree was great fun but things are never as simple as they seem – due to its size the tree has not been maintained over the years, and with the branches growing downwards it’s more of a challenge.

“It did give us an opportunity to improve our climbing and treereading techniques, which is invaluable to help us understand trees both above and below the ground.”

The species of tree was introduced to the UK in the eighteenth century and was planted on large estates as a status symbol.

It is thought there were originally two or four planted at Kingston Maurward but now only this one remains.

Arboriculture tutor Roland Hughes said: “This is an excellent practice climb for the students – It will stand them in excellent stead for the future if they are asked to tackle trees that grow this way - plus, it will probably be the tallest tree they’ll ever climb.”

For more information about fulltime arboriculture courses at the college starting this September and other courses and apprenticeships go to kmc.ac.uk or call 01305 215215.