Curious about trees? Want to challenge the family to tree identification? Explore Killerton's tree walk and meet its famous collection of ancient, rare and giant trees. Ideal for sturdy shoes. Can be muddy in places so unsuitable for pushchairs. Not suitable for dogs.
Discover trees from around the world at Killerton
Visitor reception, stable block
From visitor reception turn right and take the first path right and go through the gate to enter the chapel grounds.
Fork right, ignoring the sign to the chapel. A little way ahead on the left is a hop-hornbeam tree which belongs to the birch family. This hard heavy wood was historically used to make tools for woodwork. Up the slope to the left are two large Californian redwoods and to the right a London plane tree.
Many of our trees are over 150 years old, grown from seeds and saplings collected in South America, China, Japan and the Himalayas in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Bear left towards the chapel. On your left are two champion tulip trees that were planted in 1808 by respected landscape designer and nurseryman John Veitch.
The Chapel of colour
In 1968 Lady Anne Acland planted two cyclamen plants under the tulip trees. In the spring this area is carpeted with hundreds and thousands of vivid pink cyclamen flowers. Take a moment to look inside the Victorian chapel, built in 1841 for the Acland family from volcanic stone quarried on the estate.
Near the chapel is the Lucombe oak, a hybrid of cork and turkey oak. This tree is at least 150 years old and was one of the first to be planted in Devon. Continue to the wooden gates and the group of sweet chestnuts believed to be between 300 and 400 years old. The bark's spiral crevices are characteristic of their old age.
Continue along the path above Front Park. Go through dairy gate into the garden. Fork immediately right underneath a canopy of large magnolia trees.
There are large specimens of deadwood, some lying, somestanding. This is the land of fallen giants, many of them gnarled, twisted, rotten, decaying and strangely beautiful. They are left as deadwood habitat, a vital part of parkland landscapes. If the tree trunk is size of your leg, or greater, then it will be of significant use to deadwood invertebrates, mosses, lichens, fungi, bats, and beetles.
At the junction of paths stands Killerton's tallest giant, a giant redwood. This was planted in 1853 and is one of the very first giant redwoods planted in England. It towers 41 metres high. Take the path to the right and follow as it bends left uphill past two grand sweet chestnut trees. At the junction you'll meet a dawn redwood and snake bark maple. Turn sharp right uphill again and then take the next left to emerge just below the metal fence and gate.
Turn left and keep the garden fence on your right. Look out for the Austrian pine, a favourite ornamental pine. Continue ahead where the paths cross. The path bends to the left and passes an Indian horse chestnut - a spectacular early summer flowering tree.
At the rustic bridge bear left along the nineteenth century Beech Walk, a glorious avenue of veteran beech trees.
Take the grassy path right slightly downhill by the two giant sweet chestnut trees.
Turn left and take the first turning right. The path passes underneath a magnificent cork oak tree. Admire the year-round lichen on the bark.
Turn right to pass the distinctive paper bark maple and a weeping silver lime. Just below the thatched wooden hut called the Bear's Hut there is a black mulberry tree. Bear left downhill along the grassy path to reach the main track.
Pass between the stone urns. Just before the house take a short out-and-back detour to the left to and Indian bean tree. It's one of the last species at Killerton to come into leaf in the spring and the first to drop its leaves in autumn. Just above is the pocket handkerchief tree, planted in 1930.
The pocket handkerchief tree
The pocket handkerchief tree is covered with large white bracts around its flowers in May. It's these bracts that give the tree its name, as they are said to resemble freshly laundered handkerchiefs hung out to dry and fluttering in the breeze.
Return to the main path and turn left back past the house to return to the where this walk started.
Visitor reception, stable block
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