Champion Trees of Bodnant Garden

The Old Park in autumn at Bodnant Garden

Bodnant Garden is famed for its plants, which come from all over the world and includes a historic tree collection.

A recent survey by The Tree Register found that the garden is home to around 40 UK Champion Trees – the best examples of their kind – and 130 Welsh Champion Trees. 

The story of Bodnant Garden’s trees goes back to the Georgian era when the first beech were introduced - at that time not a common tree in Wales. They were planted along with oak, sycamore and chestnut as part of the first landscaping around Bodnant Hall in the late 1700s.

A home to exotics

The next and biggest phase of tree planting came in Victorian times under Henry Pochin, who bought the Bodnant estate in 1874. Pochin developed the pinetum in the valley garden, planting American and Asian conifers along the banks of the River Hiraethlyn. In Bodnant’s waterside dells these new trees thrived; sheltered against the elements and reaching up for light. The Champions here include the 35m Sequoiadendron giganteum ‘Pendulum’ (Giant Sequoia) planted in 1890 and Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese Umbrella Pine) thought to originate from a single plant bought to Britain by Thomas Lobb in 1853, now standing at 20m. 

Another wave of tree planting continued in the early 1900s under Pochin’s daughter Laura McLaren and grandson Henry McLaren, who added Asian broad-leaved trees throughout the garden including many magnolias, acers and flowering cherries from China and Japan. You'll find a number of Champions in the Glades including a Sorbus meliosmifolia and Acer mandshuricum (Manchurian Maple) both rare in Britain, grown from seed collected by plant hunter Ernest Wilson in the Edwardian period.

Our collection includes many conifers and evergreens, spring flowering trees and others with blazing autumn leaf-colour, providing a year-round spectacle. To find out more download our Champion Tree Map here: Bodnant Garden's Champion Trees (PDF / 2.5MB) download