A LANDSLIP provided a surprise Christmas present for a faithful vicar, giving his garden a stunning new cathedral view.

Rev Peter Kashouris was left pondering God’s mysterious ways after two cliff-hugging trees just beyond his back garden fence in Durham City collapsed into the River Wear, opening up a dramatic new sightline to Durham Cathedral’s famed Rose Window, previously obscured by the trees.

The 46-year-old Priest In Charge at St Oswald’s Church, on Church Street, Durham, believes the landslip may have occurred while he was conducting a Christingle service on Christmas Eve.

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But he only noticed it while taking a refreshing Christmas Day walk across nearby Kingsgate Bridge.

“I thought: ‘My neighbours have had a landslip’. I didn’t realise it was in my garden,” he said.

“The first thing I noticed was the view from the garden. I was really excited, because the views are so special. It was particularly special at Christmas, when you’re sensitive to the nature of the world around you.”

Following heavy rain, two trees, believed to be ash trees, which had been clinging precariously to the steep riverbanks fell into the Wear, triggering a landslip and pulling railings at the bottom of Rev Kashouris’ garden down with them.

What was left was a dangerous 50ft drop, which the married father-of-four, who also serves St Mary’s Church, in Shincliffe, has blocked off with a makeshift orange mesh fence.

“Ben (Rev Kashouris’ seven-year-old son) thinks it’s great,” the clergyman said, aware of the potential risk.

Durham County Council has been informed of the matter. A spokeswoman said it had been assessed and there was no issue with public safety.

Rev Kashouris said the garden, which has been used for church garden parties and occasionally attracted wandering drunks, would eventually be properly fenced off.

The adjoining graveyard of St Oswald’s Church is not thought to have been affected.

Earlier this week, parts of the graveyard at the so-called Dracula church, St Mary’s, in Whitby, disappeared down cliffs following a series of landslips.