The reason we hadn’t visited England’s tallest tree already is that we didn’t know where it was. Various websites talked about it and gave rough suggestions as to its location, but none of them nailed down the directions or address. It was starting to feel a little apocryphal.
We found it in the end by a bit of guesswork. It’s in Dunster Forest, by a stream between Hats Wood and Hur Wood, next to the track known as Broadwood Road.
Head south west out of Dunster on the A396. Take the first left down Bonniton Lane, following it round into Whitswood Steep until you come to Nutcombe Bottom car park on your left. Signs to the tallest tree start near the car park entrance. It’s a 5-minute drive from Dunster to the car park, then a 10-minute walk to the tree.
The tree itself is impressively tall and straight, although you wouldn’t guess it was the loftiest, perhaps because all the other trees in that rich little valley are big too. Next to the 60-metre Douglas Fir is the country’s tallest Magnolia. The fir was hard to photograph too, with no clear sight of its top or standpoint to fit it all into the frame.
That’s not to say we didn’t have fun. Mary met a friend who said she brings her little kids to the forest every weekend, and I can see why. It is a gentle spot, with a stream wending its way down through the giant firs amid a soft carpet of pine needles. And there’s plenty more of Dunster Forest to explore, although we only had time for a quick visit.
I met a lovely old guy with his dogs, who sat and told me about commuting from Minehead to Bristol back in the day, and how a different tree nearby used to be the tallest until it got struck by lightning.
Good spot to take friends with younger kids.