Tree planting on the Dyrham Park estate as part of the Queen's Green Canopy project started in 2022. The new avenue of lime trees follow a design discovered on a map dating to 176. Jan 2023

Recreating a ‘lost avenue’ of trees

3 min


Honouring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

A historic ‘lost avenue’ of trees dating back to the eighteenth century and measuring half a kilometre has been recreated at Dyrham Park in South Gloucestershire in a conservation project designed to honour the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  

The site is cared for by the National Trust and 43 lime trees have been planted by a team of rangers and volunteers.

The aim is to restore the footprint of the historic avenue which was rediscovered on maps by staff in 2019. The charity says the original trees succumbed to disease and storms during the course of the past century.    

The work is just one of 70 Queen’s Green Canopy initiatives being completed by the conservation charity across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

The scheme marks the 70-year reign of the late Queen as well as her Platinum Jubilee which took place last year. 

Dyrham’s ‘lost avenue’ was first discovered on a historic map dating back to 1766, after which its location in the northern pastures was confirmed through the use of high tech scans which were taken at the property in 2019. 

Ahead of the restoration, only one of the original trees remained, as the historic avenue had suffered decimating losses following bouts of Dutch elm disease and Ash dieback. It had also been badly hit by The Great Storm of 1987.  

The remaining tree, a veteran ash located in the deer sanctuary, has now been used as a guiding figure in the planting of the new avenue.

The row will once more stretch from Old Lodge, located in the middle of the park, to the Cotswold Way – which follows the northern boundary of the parkland. 

‘With our maps and survey data we are confident the avenue follows the footprint of the original lines of trees,’ says Piers Horry, Gardens and Parkland Manager at Dyrham Park.

‘Due to various tree diseases, we are replacing the avenue with lime trees to match the other avenues on the estate,’ 

Diversifying woodland

‘Choosing lime, rather than replanting the chestnut and ash trees which made up the original avenue, will contribute to our efforts to diversify our woodland and help mitigate the damage done by ash dieback.’ 

‘The limes will also provide the uniform shape needed for an avenue and don’t have much lower growth allowing the tree stems to be more visible and to match the original design of the historic deer park.’

At the time of its original construction, the tree avenue would have helped visitors navigate the estate. The row would have helped people not get lost on the 270-acre park. 

‘It will take at least four decades before the avenue will match the other avenues and start to look really impressive, but this is a fantastic legacy for future generations to enjoy and to commemorate the long reign of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II,’ adds Piers. 

‘The restoration of the historic ‘lost avenue’ at Dyrham Park with the planting of forty-three lime trees provides a very special addition to The Queen’s Green Canopy and will be enjoyed for centuries to come,’ says Colonel Dan Rex MVO, CEO of The Queen’s Green Canopy.

‘The Dyrham Park avenue forms part of the 70 new tree planting projects across England, Wales and Northern Ireland undertaken by the National Trust in support of The QGC.’ 

Originally due to conclude at the end of the Jubilee year in December 2023, the QGC initiative was extended until March 2023 to give people the opportunity to plant trees in memoriam to honour Her Majesty for the entire tree-planting season.  

Imagery shows National Trust staff and volunteers planting trees in the conservation project. Credit: James Dobson, National Trust Images.

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