By David Stewart White
A massive windstorm blew across southern Britain overnight Sunday, bringing heavy rain and near hurricane force winds. Several people were killed by falling trees and train cancellations made Monday's commute a nightmare.
As damage reports were tallied, Britain's historic gardens appear to have incurred significant damage. On Monday morning, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in suburban London reported loss of 10 to 15 mature trees. The historic garden is partially closed while damage teams continue inspections.
The National Trust operates historic properties throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. No overall assessment was immediately available, but individual Trust properties did report some damage. Clivedon, a historic estate northwest of London, reported tree damage and was closed Monday. Osterley Park, another popular Trust site, reported no damage to the historic house, but remains closed until the grounds are safe for visitors.
The storm's winds topped 90 miles per hour on the Isle of Wight, but damage was light according to initial reports from National Trust properties. The Trust's Needles Old Battery opened on Monday with 45 knot winds. Property staff welcomed potential visitors to "one of the windiest places in the UK."