The Constable family has embarked on a project to revitalize the Arboretum at Burton Constable Holiday Park in East Yorkshire. This initiative reflects their dedication to preserving their natural and cultural heritage, which includes a comprehensive tree-planting program in ancient woodlands and an endeavor to enhance the health of the park’s 250-year-old lakes. The rejuvenation effort commenced in May this year with the planting of 100 oak trees, using biodegradable tree guards from Hull-based Rainbow Professional to minimize ecological impact.
The Arboretum was originally planted by founder John Constable (“Mr C”) over a span of 2-3 years, beginning in 2006. Its design drew inspiration from the formal gardens of Versailles, creating a tranquil space ideal for woodland walks. The current rejuvenation project involves acquiring and planting trees to fortify the Arboretum, now two decades old. The Arboretum’s layout, designed by Mr C and Stephen Bean Associates, features various sections representing the rooms of Burton Constable Hall, each containing a diverse array of local and exotic tree varieties. For instance, the Chapel section includes Incense Cedars, Judas Trees, and Trees of Heaven.
Jack, Mr C’s grandson, and Rodrica, his daughter, represent the 33rd generation of Constables overseeing the estate. Jack emphasized the role of forestry as a link between the past and the future, stating, “Forestry is a dialogue with the past and the future. Mature trees are here thanks to our ancestors, and we plant trees for the benefit of our descendants. Mr C planted an arboretum a few years before he died – this was not for him but a gift for future generations. We are links in the chain, doing our part so this area can continue to flourish for the next thousand years.”
The multi-year restoration of the 30-acre Arboretum aligns with the Holiday Park’s environmental mission, earning the park the David Bellamy Gold Conservation Award. In addition to completing Mr C’s original design by planting the last of the “rooms” outlined in the 2007 plan, efforts will be made to reintroduce specimens (either of the same species or suitable replacements) that have been lost over the years due to natural attrition.
Park Manager Lee Marshall emphasized the significance of achieving the highest accolade of the David Bellamy Award, stating, “We are often told our Park is the flagship example for other holiday parks to aspire to.” Groundsman Mike Porter highlighted the Arboretum’s year-round appeal, with distinct seasonal characteristics, especially the stunning autumnal colors in October and November.
The revitalized park will offer valuable educational opportunities for local residents, schools, Holiday Park visitors, and arborists interested in unique East Yorkshire specimens. The park plans to create pathways and signage to facilitate tree identification and learning. Accompanying the restored Arboretum is an interactive digital map that provides extensive information about tree species and their connections to the Constable family’s heritage.
Local families are encouraged to explore the restoration effort firsthand, and additional project details can be found on the Burton Constable Holiday Park’s website.