A little known gem in The Parks Trust estate, the arboretum at Great Linford Manor Park is home to an exciting array of exotic trees from all over the world. When Milton Keynes Development Corporation were redeveloping the park, they took inspiration from the 18th century landscape and began sourcing unusual tree specimens to populate the Wilderness area of the site. It was fashionable in the 18th century to obtain exotic tree specimens and plant them in your formal garden where they could be admired as if pieces of art in a gallery, or animals in a zoo. When The Parks Trust was formed in 1992, staff continued the story of the arboretum, planting more exotic trees and extending into the Parkland area.
We now realise, thanks to our National Lottery Heritage Fund project, that an arborteum extending beyond the ha-ha ditch is not technically historically accurate as in the 18th century the exotic trees would have been contained in the formal gardens close to the house. Nevertheless, the Great Linford arboretum was inspired by the surviving 18th century landscape features and enables us to showcase unusual tree specimens to visitors just as they would have 300 years ago.
The Beech Collection
Running parallel with Marsh Drive is a varied collection of beech trees. Rob Riekie, Head of Operations at The Parks Trust, helped plant the collection in the 1990s. It was inspired by the remains of a large beech tree found in the Wilderness, that was probably part of the original 18th century planting. Watch as Rob explores the beech collection.
The Tulip Tree
A firm favourite of regular visitors to the park, the tulip tree flowers in early Spring. It's large yellow flowers and impressive height make it a very special addition to the arboretum. Watch as Rebecca Hiorns, Landscape Architect for the 'Reveal, Revive, Restore' project describes the tulip tree.
The Ancient Lime
The oldest tree in the park, the Ancient Lime tree is thought to be over 300 years old and some estimates put it at 500 years old. We think it could have been part of the original planting of the 18th century English Landscape Garden. Watch as Ellie Broad, Community Engagement and Activity Coordinator, describes the Ancient Lime tree.
The Ginkgo Trees
An exotic and ornamental species, the Ginkgo Tree is native to Japan. The examples at Great Linford Manor Park have been planted as part of the arboretum. Watch as our Community Ranger Jo explains what makes them so special.
Paperbark Maple Trees
With bright red bark, our Paperbark Maple trees can be identified all year round. Watch as Community Ranger Jo explains how.
Tibetan Cherry Trees
The shiny, smooth bark of Tibetan Cherry trees makes them a great ornamental species. Watch as our Community Ranger Jo points out its other interesting features.