A WORKER is surrounded by 865,000 Christmas trees as he starts the task of chopping them down in time for the festive season.

Plantation manager Robert Durrant put on his hard hat and ear protectors to keep himself safe as he set about the tree with a chainsaw.

A team of 12 field workers will spend the next four weeks chopping down the trees, which stand between 3ft and 10ft tall.

Another dozen yard workers at Burcot Farm, near Winchester, will bundle them up and ship them to retailers around the country.

A typical 6ft tree from the farm will sell in the shops for £50.

Around 865,000 trees are grown on the 320 acre site at any one time, with 85,000 trees planted and cut down each year.

They are harvested between six and nine years after planting, depending on how fast they grow.

The fields – which contain Caucasian Fir and Norway Spruce trees – are left fallow on the tenth year.

Each year there is demand for six million real Christmas trees in the UK.