Restoring the heathland at Clouds Hill

A picnic bench on the hill above the cottage with a view over the surrounding countryside

For twenty years now the Trust have been trying to restore the heathland around Clouds Hill, by removing a species of Rhododendron which smothers plants around it.

The Ministry of Defence has removed the Rhododendron Ponticum from their sites. Ponticum is susceptible to Phytopthora (Sudden Oak Death). This was the fate of most of the “species” Rhododendron that T E Lawrence planted around his retreat.

The National Trust`s own propagation unit stepped in to propagate some old variety “species” Rhodo especially for our site.

On top of this planting of the species rhodos, holly has been planted in order to help return the atmosphere of the site to that which it was before, creating a sense of a retreat, a bolthole.

Over the winter the gardening team have coppiced the mature hedge that runs along the road by Clouds Hill to encourage new, thicker regrowth. They removed the last of the Ponticum and put in holly trees, and chestnut pailing while the hedge regrows.