Trees & plants

We care for 25,000 hectares (61,776 acres) of woodland, 135 wild landscape sites and more than 200 gardens, and have as many wonderful stories to tell

The avenue of lime and chestnut trees in Morden Hall Park, London
Tree of the month

 

 

The Giant Beech Tree

This multi-stemmed beech tree (Fagus sylvatica) at Plas Newydd House and Garden in Wales has the largest trunk of any beech tree in Britain, and is our tree of the month for July. 

At home on the enchanting historic estate on the banks of the Menai Strait near Anglesey, for many visitors, this tree is just as magnificent as the estate's views of Snowdonia.

Beech trees have a long association with Plas Newydd. They were used by landscape designer Humphry Repton to create an area of trees and shrubs, known as the ‘Repton Clump’ 200 years ago. We replanted these trees in 2019 after the original trees were removed for safety reasons. Our gardeners assessed the condition of The Giant Beech Tree but decided that no major interventions were needed and it should be left to age gracefully.

During the 18th century, Repton was one of Britain’s best-loved landscape designers, often seen as the successor to Capability Brown, and we care for many parks and gardens influenced by him. He was known for blending the polished style of Capability Brown with the more naturalistic and dramatic landscapes of the so-called Picturesque Movement.

Plas Newydd's Head Gardener, Bill Warrell, says: ‘Of all the trees in spring and summer, the beech’s foliage is the most wonderful vibrant green. But its beautifully graceful branches, marvellous shape and smooth silver bark mean that, for me, this tree is striking all year round.’

Fun facts:

  • The Giant Beech Tree attracts lots of birds and red squirrels. The red squirrel population in Anglesey is now the largest in Wales and there are more than 100 thriving at Plas Newydd.
  • In the autumn, squirrels feed on berries and nuts – including beech nuts – but the beech tree doesn't produce nuts until it's 40-60 years old.
  • This tree is around 100 years old and most beech trees live until they are around 250. 
Video

How you're helping to plant trees

Our ambition to plant and establish 20 million trees by 2030 is progressing at pace thanks to your support. After you helped us raise almost £500,000 through our plant a tree campaign, we've been able to plant thousands of young saplings across the UK. We've also identified sites for a further 1.5 million trees to be planted during the next two years. Watch this video to find out how you've supported tree planting at Conygree Farm on the Sherborne Park Estate in Gloucestershire.

The high beech canopy in summer

Our tree planting ambition 

Trees are the best natural armour we have against the climate crisis, so we're working hard to plant and establish 20 million of them by 2030. Discover how your support and working with partners is making all of this possible.

Sustainable tree cages, Lake District

We're trialling sustainable tree guards

To reduce plastic pollution we're testing sustainable tree guards as part of our plans to plant and establish 20 million trees. As we look for an affordable large-scale alternative we're reducing plastic by using tree crates made from the wood of diseased trees and tubes made from wool and cardboard. Protecting saplings with tree guards mean they can fulfil their potential and sequester maximum carbon. We'll also allow trees to regenerate naturally by planting them in shrubland, where existing vegetation such as gorse and hawthorn protect saplings.

View of clough and hills

High hopes for trees in the High Peak 

High on the hills of the Peak District, a major tree-planting project is underway. From improving upland habitats for wildlife to restoring wetlands, find out how natural tree cover is helping to breathe life into the Peaks and valleys.

Identify ancient trees

Learn how to spot an ancient tree with our handy guide.

Plant life
Himalayan blue poppies (Meconopsis betonicifolia) growing in the walled garden at Rowallane

Plant conservation 

Just as grand buildings and stunning collections can tell the tales of changing tastes and the rise (and fall) of fortunes, so too can the exotic plants in their gardens. With more than 200 gardens to look after, discover how we ensure their beauty lasts forever, for everyone.

Plants on a market stall

Conserving plants with a story to tell 

Caring for the our garden plants takes understanding, science and a very long view. Plants are among the most vulnerable of our possessions requiring attention and expertise.

Meet the gardeners

Our landscapes

We value our landscape and as one of the UK’s largest landowners, keep our land accessible for future generations.