Visitors to the National Memorial Arboretum can enjoy a wide variety of trees, many of which have a relevance to the memorials around them.
Although still a ‘young’ arboretum, there are already in excess of 50,000 trees on the site which are rapidly growing into a unique living tribute.
The Ulster Grove is an increasingly mature area of woodland.
The Beat, an avenue of young Chestnuts, was funded by every Police Force in the UK. Chestnuts were chosen because the first truncheons were made from this extremely durable wood. Several of the trees along the avenue were grown from conkers taken from Drayton Manor, the home of Sir Robert Peel, founder of the Police Force.
Construction of The Chapel begun in 1999, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Scottish plant collector, David Douglas and visitors will see the amazing twelve pillars of Douglas Fir. Between 1825 and 1827 David Douglas travelled a staggering 10,000 miles in Western Canada and North West USA on foot and by canoe collecting and classifying plants. As a result of his efforts, 200 new plants were introduced to the UK, including the Douglas fir.
Six Dawn Redwoods can be found on The Ambulance Service Plot. These magnificent trees, identified as a ‘living fossil’ in 1941, once blanketed the entire Northern Hemisphere and were thought to be extinct by Western botanists until their rediscovery in 1941 in the Szechuan Province of China.
At the end of The Beat is The Golden Grove, which celebrates the lives of couples who married at the end of the Second World War and commemorated their 50th anniversary by dedicating trees. All the trees in The Grove, such as the Golden Stemmed Ash, have golden leaves, stems or fruits.
Passing through the Golden Grove, you will come across a sinuous line of young Redwoods planted by the International Tree Foundation. During the California Gold Rush in the 1850s, a prospector searching for gold stumbled into a grove of Giant Redwood trees. These are the world’s largest trees in terms of volume.
In the wood dedicated to the Merchant Navy convoys, some 2,535 Oaks represent the number of British flagged merchant vessels lost to enemy action during World War II.
Adjacent to Millennium Avenue is a group of easily recognised exotic trees. An Azalea Garden has been started with Azalea Antelope. This is dedicated to all who served on HMS Antelope, sunk during the Falklands conflict in 1982 with the loss of two lives. Of the 33 truly native species found in the UK, such as Black Poplar and Strawberry Tree, 32 can be found at the Arboretum.