Leafier times ahead for Charlecote Park - The Leamington Observer

Leafier times ahead for Charlecote Park

CHARLECOTE Park is set to look a whole lot leafier this spring.

Staff and volunteers at the National Trust property have spent the first three months of the year planting young saplings and new hedgerows across the parkland to help nature thrive.

A grand total of nearly 800 new whips – young trees and hedgerow saplings – have been planted, while conservation work is ongoing to look after the acorns of a 300-year-old oak tree and an avenue of lime trees that date back to the 18th century.

The importance of trees has been recently highlighted on the BBC’s Wild Isles series, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, who spoke fondly of one of his favourite ancient oak trees. A similarly ancient oak has stood at Charlecote for centuries and is a favourite of many of the visitors, volunteers and staff.

Lead Ranger Paul Smith said: “The Boundary Oak is a true veteran estimated to be over 300 years old but it’s been in decline for some time. Unfortunately, this much-loved tree came to the end of its long life last year, possibly due to the extreme heat, flooding or other factors.

“Our annual tree surveys picked up its steady decline, so we took action a few years back to save some of the acorns. From these acorns, four strong, young saplings are being nurtured to continue the Boundary Oak’s lineage.”

Last year, the team at Charlecote undertook several major conservation and improvement projects, including the resurfacing of the car park. Since then, they’ve planted 27 native trees in the car park, along with 59 hawthorns and 55 hazels as part of their hedge planting scheme.

Paul continued: “We originally had to remove 38 trees which were either non-native species or had suffered significant root damage due to soil compaction. We’ll be planting more trees and hedges this autumn to make sure we replace everything that had to come out.”

Another 600 young trees have also been planted in the parkland. The saplings, which are a mix of holly, hawthorn, viburnum, and buckthorn, have been planted in an area that’s not accessible to the public, but is a key area for conservation work and a haven for wildlife, including Charlecote’s herd of fallow deer.

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