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.