A giant 140-year-old redwood tree at a National Trust park was obliterated by a lightning strike.

The tree was “left in tatters” in Sheffield Park, east of Haywards Heath, after storms battered Sussex last week.

Staff heard a “single, very loud lightning strike” on Wednesday night.

The 38-metre tree was snapped in several pieces but staff hope it could still regrow.

The National Trust’s tree and woodland adviser Tom Hill said: “We heard reports of a single, very loud lightning strike in the garden on Wednesday night, which we believe brought down a large proportion of the tree.

The Argus: It is hoped the tree will be able to grow backIt is hoped the tree will be able to grow back (Image: Laurence Perry)

“The redwood is such an iconic part of the landscape here – and very much loved by locals and visitors, with generations of families posing for photos under its enormous branches.

“Fortunately the base of the tree appears to be intact, so we’re hopeful it will naturally regenerate, given the time and space.”

The Argus: The redwood treeThe redwood tree (Image: Laurence Perry)

The site remains open but part of the garden is cordoned off for safety. 

Sheffield Park is a landscape garden, originally designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century.

Several yellow weather warnings for lightning and rain have been issued for Sussex in recent weeks.