Where to see champion trees
Trewithen Gardens & Parks
One of the loveliest gardens in Cornwall – Trewithen Gardens nails the balance between hidden nooks and sweeping countryside views. Trewithen means ‘house of trees’ so it should come as no surprise that Trewithen Gardens is full of wonderfully woody specimens, from the big blousy Magnolias to graceful Acers. In fact, Trewithen Gardens is home to around 20 champion trees, so-called for reaching the greatest height or girth of their species. As well as these awe-inspiring trees, Trewithen Gardens is full of fabulous flora and fauna, including a spectacular collection of Camellias, which have earned it the accolade of International Camellia society 'Garden of Excellence'. Among the 30 acres of woodland gardens is the Cockpit, where climbing Hydrangeas and exotic Tree Ferns jostle for space under the dappled light of the canopy. Visit in spring when the early flowering Magnolias, Rhododendrons and Camellias are in full swing. After exploring the garden, visitors can enjoy delicious refreshments at the Tea Shed, open until the end of October half term.
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Audley End House & Gardens
Explore this decadent Jacobean mansion house and meet the staff in the Victorian Service Wing. Enjoy stunning views across the unspoilt Essex countryside and wander the tranquil gardens created by ‘Capability’ Brown, gold winner of Anglia in Bloom Awards 2017. Then gallop across to see the horses in the Victorian stable yard, and run, jump and climb in the children’s play area.
How to grow your own champion tree at home
- Right tree, right place. Learn about the growing conditions you can offer before choosing your tree and don't assume every member of a species will enjoy the same conditions. Sessile oak, for example, "prefers the boggy, wet uplands of the south-west, whereas English oak is better suited to the drier conditions further east", says the Eden Project.
- Select an open site with minimal competition from other trees if possible. According to the Woodland Trust "Trees in open settings have a greater volume of wood over all, in the trunk, limbs and roots. The slow ageing process allows more time for this wood to grow and decay, and to form relationships with or provide substrate or shelter for a greater variety of organisms."
- Choose slow-growing species which tend to be more resilient to external pressures like drought and human activity.
- Pick native trees as these will have adapted to cope with our weather and will support native wildlife.
- Water carefully - established trees need a good drenching while overwatering young trees can lead to root rot and eventual death.
- Mulch your tree with organic matter. This reduces harm from cold and drought stress and helps reduce soil compaction, which could hinder root growth.
- Avoid synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers or weed killers which could harm or stunt your tree.