Tree expert to advise on Sidmouth Arboretum project

Tree collections expert to advise on civic arboretum project for Sidmouth

A FORMER head of tree collections for the Forestry Commission, based at Westonbirt National Arboretum, will advise on Sidmouth’s Civic Arboretum project.

Hugh Angus visited the town on Friday to meet Richard Eley, chairman of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce and Chamber member Edward Willis Fleming, who is leading the project with help from Diana East, former magazine editor for Westonbirt Arboretum, who now lives in Sidmouth.

She gave Hugh a brief driving tour of the Sid Valley. Although there was no time for a detailed visit to any particular trees, after a brief walk in The Byes they admired the view from Salcombe Hill and drove past beech woods leading to Salcombe Regis and its thorn.

Sidford marks the change from the more urban Sidmouth to the more rural landscape of Sidbury where trees are more in evidence.

Returning south, they took in Woolbrook and the copper beeches of Arcot Park, before visiting the Knowle’s mature trees and leafy Bickwell Valley.

Diana said: “Coming back into town, Hugh admired the yews in the churchyard and a fragrant myrtle which grows there.

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“Our tour ended at the Ham car park, which was a bit of a shock as it is completely devoid of trees, or in November, any greenery of any kind.

“Clearly there are opportunities there to create a more welcoming environment for our visitors.”

Having noted the micro-climate of the valley, with its imposing cork oak at Sidbury and several olive trees, Hugh discussed with Richard and Edward how best to set up an arboretum and will report back his findings.

Diana said the whole valley would be an arboretum, with existing specimen trees catalogued.

* The Chamber is interested in hearing from anyone who can suggest a tree planting site before the launch of the project next May.

Contact Diana (05603) 278602 or email

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