Jessia Swales and friends climbing the Nootka tree at Wallington  © National Trust/Nathan Pask

Jessia Swales and friends climbing the Nootka tree at Wallington

“George Bernard Shaw Tree”  © National Trust/Paul Hewitt

“George Bernard Shaw Tree”

“The Atholl Larch”  © National Trust/Paul Hewitt

“The Atholl Larch”

“The Giant Sequoia” © National Trust/Paul Hewitt

“The Giant Sequoia”

“Blackett Beech” © National Trust/Paul Hewitt

“Blackett Beech”

Douglas-Fir © National Trust/Paul Hewitt

Douglas-Fir

Route overview

Wallington was the home of the Blackett and Trevelyan families for over 300 years. One of their great legacies is the trees they planted. Sir Walter Calverley Blackett (1728 - 1777) oversaw the first and biggest phase of tree planting. During the 1730s he created the Home Woods (East, West and North Woods) largely as we see them today. From the 1850s the Trevelyan family planted the latest “must have” trees. These were mainly exotic conifers discovered in the New World. As a result Wallington has trees from around the world. George Otto Trevelyan (1838 – 1928) started “The Wallington Book of Trees” in 1891, which recorded the planting dates, girth, height and position of over 300 trees. The recording was continued by his daughter-in-law Lady Mary Trevelyan and his granddaughter Pauline Dower. We depend upon this book to find out details about the trees on the Wallington estate.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Heritage tree trail around the East Wood
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: East lawn outside entrance to house

  1. To help you identify the trees on the trail look out for the slate panels next to each tree, the numbers match the numbers on the map. The first tree is on the corner of the east lawn. “The Climbing Tree” – Nootka Cypress (Callitropsis nootkatensis) – is a native of North America named after the Nootka Indian tribe. It was introduced to the UK in 1854, and planted at Wallington in c1890. The oldest known Nootka Cypress is 1,800 years old and found in British Columbia, Canada. This tree was voted the number one climbing tree in the National Trust as part of the “50 things to do before you are 11¾” campaign.

    Jessia Swales and friends climbing the Nootka tree at Wallington  © National Trust/Nathan Pask
  2. From the "climbing tree" follow the path towards the east wood and walled garden. The next tree is on your right on the edge of the east lawn. The “George Bernard Shaw Tree” – Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) – was planted by the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw in 1936 when he was a guest of Sir Charles and Molly Trevelyan. Shaw was a close family friend and fellow socialist. This tree may have been grown in memory of Frank Wise, a former Labour MP and another socialist, who died at Wallington in 1933. Wise was born and buried in Bury St Edmunds and the conker from which this tree grew was collected there in 1934.

    Show/HideHorse Chestnut

    The Horse Chesnut is native to Southeast Europe and was introduced to the UK in the 1600s. The World’s oldest Horse Chestnut is on Mount Etna in Sicily and is over 2,000 years old.

    “George Bernard Shaw Tree”  © National Trust/Paul Hewitt
  3. Take care when Crossing over the road into the east wood, you will then see the next tree straight in front of you. “The George Otto Tree” – Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) – is native to North America. It was introduced to the UK in 1853 and this one was planted by George Otto Trevelyan in1882. The oldest known Western Red Cedar is found in Washington State, USA, and is 1,460 years old.

  4. From the Western Red Cedar take the path to the left and then turn left again around the china pond. Look out for the Larch tree on your left just before the section of boardwalk. “The Atholl Larch” – European Larch (Larix decidua) – was given to Sir Walter Calverley Blackett by The Duke of Atholl. The Duke of Atholl was the first person to plant Larch commercially in Scotland. In 1738 he imported a large number of Larch trees to Dunkeld via the port of Newcastle. Wherever they stayed the night a few trees were left for the owners. Wallington got six trees. By the 1960s two trees remained and were referred to as the “King and Queen”. Unfortunately, the Queen fell during a storm in the 1960s, leaving the King as the last survivor of the original six. A section of the “Queen” can be seen in the house.

    Show/Hide“The Atholl Larch”

    The European Larch is native to Eastern Europe and was introduced to the UK in the 1600s. The oldest known European Larch is in Switzerland and is 860 years old.

    “The Atholl Larch”  © National Trust/Paul Hewitt
  5. From the Larch tree continue along the path over the boardwalk section until you come to a junction where you will see the Giant Sequoia – (Sequoiadendron giganteum). This tree is native to the Sierra Nevada in California, USA. First planted in the UK in 1857 this one was planted at Wallington in c1892. The oldest known Giant Sequoia is over 3,000 years old and is found in Sequoia National Park, USA.

    “The Giant Sequoia” © National Trust/Paul Hewitt
  6. Take the path to your right when facing the Giant Sequoia then keep to the left when the path forks. Along this path on your right is the next tree. The “Blackett Beech” – (Fagus sylvatica) – is native to Southern England and Wales. Many beeches, including this one, were planted at Wallington during the 1740s. The oldest Beech trees in England are over 1,000 years old and are found as coppice stools in Epping Forest, Essex.

    Show/Hide“Blackett Beech”

    This tree is one of the largest trees at Wallington. The leaves of the Beech trees provide stunning colours in Autumn.

    “Blackett Beech” © National Trust/Paul Hewitt
  7. Continue along the path from the Beech tree and take a right turn at the junction passing a statue on your left. Just after the statue take a left turn and continue along the path then take another left turn heading towards the garden pond. Take the next right turn just before you reach the pond and then turn right again onto the old cart road. The Douglas Fir will be on your right. Douglas-Fir – (Pseudotsuga menziesii) – is native to Northwest America. It was introduced to the UK in 1827 and this one was planted in c1850. The largest known Douglas Fir is found on the San Juan River in British Columbia, Canada, it is 73m high with a girth of 11.30m. Wallington’s tree has doubled in girth, to 4.60m, over 114 years.

    Douglas-Fir © National Trust/Paul Hewitt

End: East lawn outside entrance to house

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Time: 30mins
  • Terrain:

    Relatively flat circular walk around the East wood along surfaced footpaths.

  • How to get here:

    By road: A1 north to Newcastle then 20 miles north-west (A696, airport/Ponteland road), and turn off on B6342 to Cambo. A1 south to Morpeth (A192) then 12 miles west (B6343)

    Parking: free, 200 yards