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Press release

Historic 480-metre "lost avenue” restored in planting project honouring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Newly planted lime tree saplings in deer guards stand on sprawling parkland at Dyrham Park in South Gloucestershire
Newly restored lost tree avenue at Dyrham Park, South Gloucestershire | © National Trust Images / James Dobson

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, cared for by the National Trust, in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Forty-three lime trees have been planted by National Trust rangers and volunteers to restore the footprint of the historic avenue, rediscovered on maps by staff in 2019, after the original trees succumbed to diseases and storms in the past century.

The project is one of 70 Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) initiatives being completed by the conservation charity across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in honour of 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 cross-referenced light detection and ranging (LiDAR) scans 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, as well as 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, which 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.

Piers Horry, Gardens and Parkland Manager at Dyrham Park said: “With our maps and survey data we are confident the avenue follows the footprint of the original lines of trees. Due to various tree diseases, we are replacing the avenue with lime trees to match the other avenues on the estate.

“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 so they would not get lost on the 270-acre (110 hectare) steep and sloping parkland.

Piers continued: “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.”

Colonel Dan Rex MVO, CEO of The Queen’s Green Canopy, said: "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. 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 2022, 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.

More QGC projects are being completed at National Trust properties across the country, including at Abinger Roughs, Trengwainton and Shugborough.