Hailstones 'the size of golf balls' batter gardens in Essex

A montage: in the background - very large hailstones; inset - a destroyed garden

Hailstorms battered parts of Essex yesterday - Credit: Archant/Neil Brooks/Jane Ratcliffe

Hailstones "the size of golf balls" battered parts of Essex during a summer storm yesterday (Tuesday, July 20).

In 27C heat, Thaxted, Bardfield and Great Sampford residents experienced a hailstorm which damaged cars and destroyed gardens.

One resident from Thaxted even shared a photograph of a hailstone measuring three centimetres in diameter on Twitter.

Neil Brooks tweeted: "Two to three minutes of the biggest hail I've ever seen. Dents in the car.

"Insane weather."

A large white ball - a hailstone. Next to it, a ruler. The hailstone is 3cm large.

Neil Brooks from Thaxted photographed a hailstone measuring three centimetres in diameter - Credit: Neil Brooks/Twitter

Two large hailstones in someone's hands.

Hailstones "the size of golf balls" in Thaxted - Credit: Neil Brooks/Twitter

Jane from Great Sampford said: "It's so depressing to see the garden this morning, or what is left of it.

"A major clear-up begins today."

A garden is littered with fallen green leaves and large hailstones

A Great Sampford garden after the storm - Credit: Jane Ratcliffe

A patio meets grass. The grass is covered with hailstones.

Hailstones in a Great Sampford garden after the storm - Credit: Jane Ratcliffe

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The large hailstones are the latest in a series of amber-warning weather events.

Thaxted flooded last week, causing disruption to commuters between Saffron Walden and Dunmow.

A weather station near Saffron Walden recorded 60.3mm of rain yesterday, more than the average July rainfall for much of East Anglia (51.6mm).

The heatwave - which has seen highs of 32C in some parts of the country - is set to tail off over the weekend, with highs of 23C on Friday and Saturday in Essex.

The Met Office forecasts storms on Sunday with highs of 21C.