Posted by: lensweb | August 4, 2014

Nottingham Arboretum Visit 2014

Monday July 28 – Nottingham Arboretum.

Good selection of interesting trees including some ‘Champions’. A bit up and down, but generally easy walking on good paths.

Met 7pm, just inside main entrance on Waverley Street by Waverley Lodge opposite General Cemetery (not Rock Cemetery!) Park on Arboretum Street on north side, then 5 minute walk back to main entrance. Or use tram, get off opposite Boys’ High School and walk down hill to Arboretum.
Grid ref: SK 567 405
Postcode: NG7 4HF
Leader: Graham Piearce

It is easy to imagine Victorian families taking their Sunday stroll in Nottingham Arboretum with its winding paths, sweeping lawns, ornamental lake, aviaries and bandstand.  Opened in 1852 the park, covering 17 acres, contains more than 800 trees including a handful of the originals.

Graham’s walk took us past the 25 ‘champion’ trees of the park as well as many other interesting or rare species. Champions have the greatest height or girth of their species in one or more of the following areas: Nottinghamshire, England, or Britain and Ireland. Three exceptional trees in the arboretum have this distinction in all three groups.

We were very quickly introduced to three champions – an Italian alder growing happily away from water, a beautiful cut-leaf alder growing very happily beside the ornamental lake and a huge fig-tree. The fig tree is thought to be one of the first plants to have been cultivated by man.

The striking gingko tree, which was thought for years to be male, produced fruit last year. The terrible smell of the fruit at last proved it had been female all along!

There were so many wonderful trees to see – a weeping elm, red snake-bark maple, yellow-non-prickly-fruited horse chestnut, double-flowering horse chestnut that bears no fruit, a field maple named Elizabeth planted for the queen’s diamond jubilee, mop-head maple and an unprepossessing small-flowered black hawthorn which was nevertheless a triple champion.

The cork oak

The cork oak

During this very hands-on evening, we touched leaves that were woolly, smooth, rough, even sand-papery, looked for tiny spikes at the tips of leaves, felt the deeply indented bark of the cork oak, marvelled at cinnamon-scented leaves and admired the beautiful colouring on the bark of the London plane tree, which is one of the original plantings. We learned of the attempt  being made to value trees, taking into account their age, condition, and community and social values. This 160 year-old London plane for example is valued at £200,000.

Two of the rarest trees were named after a plant collector called Henry. Henry’s maple has unusual leaves for a maple and wonderful Autumn colour, whilst the tree known as Henry’s lime has beautiful leaves edged with bristle-like teeth.

Admiring Henry's maple

Admiring Henry’s maple

A green woodpecker flew in front of us calling loudly and settled high up in a tree.

The Chinese Bell Tower

The Chinese Bell Tower

We walked along the dahlia border, once the longest of its kind in Europe and continued along the oak bank. Towards the end of the walk the Chinese Bell Tower with its cannons captured from the battle of Sebastopol and bell looted from the temple in Canton loomed dramatically above us.

Sunset over the Arboretum

Sunset over the Arboretum

Finishing at the old rose garden, whose new purpose is still under discussion, a subtle and beautiful sunset saw us on our way.

Joan Breakwell


  1. Thanks for a very readable account of our recent enjoyable visit.


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