Mottisfont Ancient Tree Trail

A while back I promised to tell you about the trees you can find at Mottisfont. On our way back from Bath the weather was glorious and after a few days of rain we thought we’d take advantage and stop off at one of our favourite National Trust properties: Mottisfont.

After an hour or so in the car we were all in need of fresh air on one the way in I noticed a leaflet entitled Ancient Trees. Being the curious type, I had to pick it up and lo and behold it was an ancient tree trail.

Autumn at Mottisfont

Autumn at Mottisfont

A short walk around the property takes in ten trees of import and tells you about their history. We couldn’t resist and after a hearty lunch in the tea room we headed out to explore Mottisfonts’ arboriculture.

As we started in the wrong place, we abandoned the order shown in the leaflet and had fun trying to guess which tree was which.

First up was the London Plane, standing tall next to the tea room. This tree is thought to be one of the oldest of its species.

Mottisfont Ancient Tree Trail - London Plane

London Planes were created by an accidental crossing of Oriental and American Plane trees in about 1650. The Plane tree can stand very high levels of pollution, which is why it does so well next to roads and in cities and towns.

Next was the English Yew.

It’s just beautiful at this time of year with its bright red berries. The Yew tree has very strong and flexible wood and will withstand a good deal of bad weather. This one even survived after being blown down in a storm.

Mottisfont Ancient Tree Trail - Lime Tree Leaves

A wonderful Lime Avenue greeted us as we rounded the house. It offers shade and a view of the grounds, from the shelter of its canopy.

Mottisfont Ancient Tree Trail - Lime Avenue

A crab apple tree grown from the seeds of an apple, Napolean Bonarparte is said to have eaten, was next up in the tour.

Mottisfont Ancient Tree Trail - Napoleans Crab Apple

An English Oak stood out on its own a little further on. This tree was pollarded, which encourages branches to grow with a naturally smooth bend; perfect for ship building. It was only saved from this fate by the introduction of steel in 1860, when this tree would finally have been mature enough.

Huddled together, a little further on, are Sycamore, Cherry and Horse Chestnut, with a Tulip tree standing just apart from them.

Sycamores are often used for woodwind instruments, cherries for their ornamental glory and Horse Chestnuts for our wonderful game of conkers.

Finally we rested on a bench in the shade of large Sweet Chestnut, taking in the view and enjoying the sunshine.

Mottisfont Ancient Tree Trail - Sweet Chestnut

Sweet Chestnuts were introduced by the Romans and were often found in monastery gardens. Apparently the leaves were used to stuff mattresses. Now that is eco-friendly!

Mottisfont Ancient Tree Trail - Sweet Chesnut Canopy

We had a lovely time touring the trees of Mottisfont and as always, I’d definitely recommend this fine National Trust property for a day out. There’s so much out there to learn and where better to start than with some of our ancient neighbours: the trees.

Mottisfont Ancient Tree Trail - Surveying The Grounds

The information from this post is referenced from the National Trust leaflet entitled Ancient trees. You can find more information about Mottisfont here.

What’s your favourite tree? We’d love to know, so don’t forget to tell us in the comments below!


One thought on “Mottisfont Ancient Tree Trail

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    What a lovely trip you had! And such a nice variety of trees, too. I’m glad your walk included yews; I’ve always thought they were so beautiful. And what’s not to like about an apple tree 🙂 – Looks as though Beany enjoyed herself, too!


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