A MUCH loved tree known has finally fallen from Walton's Naze cliffs onto the beach.

The tree is locally as the Graffiti Tree because of all the engravings on its bark .

The supporting earth under its trunk had eroded dramatically over the winter.

By the weekend it was only standing thanks to a few roots, but finally toppled to the beach.

The tree was planted in 1973 as part of the John Weston Reserve project.

Gerald Rayner, who has lived in Walton all his life, took part in the planting as a 15 year old.

Mr Rayner, said: “John Weston was a local naturalist who gathered a gang of kids who collectively created the John Weston Reserve from 1971 onwards, planted all the trees in 1973 and looked after the colony of Little Terns when they nested on the back south of Stone Creek.”

With people taking to Facebook groups to express their sadness at the loss of the Graffiti Tree, Mr Rayner believes the loss is just part of the natural cycle of life and said: “This is an inevitable and natural process.”

Many hold the tree close to their heart including Anne Marie Cole who moved to Walton 18 months ago.

She said: “I have such an affinity to that tree.

"It was always precariously near the edge.

"I’ve often spoken to families and visitors in the summer who always come to see it as part of their walk around the Naze, so it is heartbreaking to see its demise.

"It looked out across the sea and I always wondered what tales it could tell from all the different initials and names carved into it so I decided to start recording the graffiti for prosperity.

"There are so many initials and I particularly like the one that says 'Liz and Jim'.

"It’s deep in the bark and must have taken a bit of time to do so I am hoping to eventually find all those whose names are recorded on this lovely tree and hear their stories."

If anyone has any information about the graffiti, contact Anne Marie by text on 07415 657557.