In a dramatic turn for Dartington’s gardens, a 300 year-old sweet chestnut tree recently fell over in the winter storms.

Fallen chestnut in Dartington's grounds
Fallen chestnut in Dartington’s grounds

When asked how the issue would be addressed, Head Gardener Ian Gilbert commented: “Once the weather improves and the ground is less wet, our team – Mo, Mardie and Katie and I – will bring machinery in to remove it.

“There are plans afoot to create a bench from the wood. The chestnuts sit at the top of the tiltyard, which requires much work to maintain.

“You may wonder why the gardeners ask that you do not run down it. Well, each foot hole created requires a wheelbarrow load of soil to fill, and a bucket of grass seed to replant.

“And the rammer used by the Elmhirsts to shore up the eight banks is well beyond our current gardening budget, so we’d really appreciate your help in looking after them and the rest of our Grade II listed garden for future generations.”

Ground improvements

The imminent work on the fallen tree is not expected to derail a wider programme of planned improvements to the Dartington estate.

The chestnut was one of a line of similarly-aged trees
The chestnut was one of a line of similarly-aged trees

Ian revealed: “In March we will be lifting and relaying the raised sunny border path that runs alongside what are known as the 12 Apostles, the yew trees by the tiltyard.

“It will be closed to the public during this period. We will also be fitting metal edging to the edge of two lawned area, which will cut the gardeners’ time to trim the edges from a day to half an hour!

“We’re delighted to say that following our call for garden volunteers in our last issue, we’ve welcomed Sally to our team, who joins us once a week to help with edging and tidying our herbaceous borders.”

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