FILM and television director, writer and producer Paul Weiland has uncovered some 165-year redwood trees on his estate.

The former Walkers crisps TV advert director has found 32 giant North American sequoia giganteum redwood trees while felling 50 Leylandii trees.

They were discovered when he employed tree surgeon Charlie Horsfall to open up his Grade 1 listed Belcombe Court home to more light on his 60-acre estate.

Mr Weiland, 67, said: “I did not even know they were there. It is like revealing hidden treasures.”

The Leylandii trees were originally planted about 50 years ago for a previous owner of the Bradford on Avon estate to hide the Brunel railway and deaden the noise made by passing trains.

Mr Weiland says the Sequoia Giganteum or Wellingtonia trees from California were planted alongside the railway in 1855 and could be among the tallest in this country.

William Lobb, a British plant collector employed by Veitch Nurseries of Exeter, was responsible for bringing the massive Sequoiadendron giganteum trees from the USA to this country, including those at Belcombe Court.

Mr Lobb is perhaps best known for also bringing the Monkey Puzzle tree, a Chilean pine, to the UK.

Ironically, Mr Horsfall, who is ripping out the Leylandii trees for Mr Weiland, is closely related to William Lobb through his mother.

Mr Horsfall, 44, who runs Beechwood Tree Surgeons in Frome, said: "I had a vague idea that the trees behind the Leylandii were Wellingtonia redwoods. They are magnificent trees.

"There's probably a fair few more there hidden behind the remaining Leylandii close to the railway."

Mr Weiland said: “We have so far taken out about 50 of the Leylandii and there’s probably another 70 left.

“We’ve been opening up the view to the valley as my wife, Caroline, had said the house was getting too dark.”

Belcombe Court overlooks the Avoncliff valley, including the railway, the River Avon and the Kennet & Avon Canal.

The estate has magnificent gardens laid out in a landscaped park for clothier Francis Yerbury in the mid-18th century.

The largest sequoia tree in the world is 275 feet tall and the redwoods are among the oldest organisms on Earth.

They absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide and help to rebalance the environment.

Mr Weiland added: “I have to say it is transforming the area. Trees are incredible things and I have planted thousands here on the estate.

“We have cleared some of the unattractive areas and planted wild flowers, home oaks and other native species.

“Lots of people walking by during the Covid pandemic lockdown have stopped to admire the open spaces we have created.

“I feel that I am doing my bit for Bradford on Avon. As a local beauty spot, it is now really nice.”