Local family plans to rejuvenate arboretum as part of restoration and conservation project at cultural heritage site in East Yorkshire

The Constable family is planning and funding the rejuvenation of the Arboretum at Burton Constable Holiday Park. This is part of their commitment to their natural and cultural heritage, including a programme of tree-planting in ancient woodlands and a project to improve the health of the 250-year-old lakes on the Park.

The rejuvenation began with planting 100 oak trees in May this year, utilising industry-leading biodegradable tree guards made by Hull-based Rainbow Professional to minimise the ecological impact of the planting.

Founder John Constable (“Mr C”) planted the Arboretum over 2-3 years from 2006. The formal gardens of Versailles partly inspired its design. It is a place of tranquillity, perfect for venturing out on a woodland walk. The rejuvenation of his arboretum involves the buying and planting of trees to bolster the arboretum twenty years on. The arboretum is based on a design by Mr C and Stephen Bean Associates: different sections of the arboretum include hundreds of varieties of trees, local and exotic, representing the rooms of Burton Constable Hall. For example, the Chapel section includes Incense Cedars, Judas Trees, and Trees of Heaven.

Mr C’s daughter Rodrica and grandson Jack represent the 33rd generation of Constables to be custodians of the estate here. Jack said: “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 rejuvenation of the 30-acre arboretum will continue the Holiday Park’s environmental mission, which has led the park to win the David Bellamy Gold Conservation Award. As well as completing Mr C’s design by planting the last of the “rooms” in the 2007 plan, efforts will be made to include specimens (either with the same species or suitable replacements) lost over the years due to natural wastage. 

Park Manager Lee Marshall explained the importance of winning the highest accolade of the David Bellamy Award. He said: ‘We are often told our Park is the flagship example for other holiday parks to aspire to.” Groundsman Mike Porter emphasised the year-round nature of the Arboretum: it has different personalities in different seasons – the autumnal colours in October and November need to be seen to be believed.

The rejuvenated park will provide exciting educational opportunities for local residents and schools, Holiday Park customers and arborists interested in some specimens unique to East Yorkshire. The Park will organise pathways and signage to encourage learning about tree identification. Along with the restored arboretum is a new interactive digital map, which provides a wealth of information about the different species of trees and how they relate to the Constable family’s heritage.

Local families are invited to walk around and see the restoration first-hand. More information about the project can be found on the Burton Constable Holiday Park’s website.