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Hergest Croft Gardens has third tallest tree in Great Britain

It’s official, an important Welsh Marches tourist attraction has one of the tallest trees in Great Britain!

Hergest Croft Gardens at Kington, one of the UK’s most important horticultural sites, has the third tallest tree in Great Britain, a Douglas Fir standing at 200 feet and more than 160 years old.

That’s the verdict of The Tree Register of the British Isles (TROBI) registrar, Owen Johnson, who recently visited the gardens.

The tree register is a charity which collates and records a database of notable trees throughout the UK and Ireland and has the largest database in the world.

Currently listing more than 250,000 individual trees, the register is based on the original work of the internationally acclaimed dendrologist, the late Alan Mitchell, who started this mammoth task in the early 1960s.

The register includes historical records going back 200 years which record the height and girth measurements of record trees (‘Champion Trees’) so that the growth rates and longevity can be measured.

The register not only records the largest trees of more common species; it also records details of rare and unusual trees. Hergest Croft Gardens currently has 130 ‘Champion Trees’.

 

“So good are the growing conditions that Hergest Croft can now boast only the third tree in England to be measured at 200 feet (61 m) tall,” said Mr Johnson. “Part of a plantation of Douglas Firs, planted most probably in 1863 in Yeld Wood, this fir grows on a very steep slope and it was only this autumn that I found a position from which to measure it precisely.

“Thanks to the steepness of the bank, the height to an average ground level – rather than to the base at the top side – is 61.5 m.”

Anyone wishing to visit this tree should email austyn.hallworth@hergest.co.uk for the OS grid reference.

 

Earlier this year, Hergest Croft Gardens was one of six gardens shortlisted for the prestigious UK Garden of the Year Award, organised by the Historic Houses Association and sponsored by Christie’s.

Another late summer visitor to the gardens, whilst on holiday from New Zealand, told staff about artist and fellow Kiwi, Karl Maughan.

An iconic New Zealand artist, Maughan visited Hergest Croft Gardens in 2022 and photographed the stunning azaleas and rhododendrons which inspired him to paint a 10 metre long picture entitled ‘A Clear Day’.

The paining was purchased by The Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa and was recently included in an auction of Maughan’ s work with a hefty price tag of £150,000.

 

Hergest Croft Gardens is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent company representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, The Welsh Marches, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.

 

Picture caption:

Hergest Croft Gardens woodland.

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