The Gardens at Dartington are steeped in history; a monument to the vision and enterprise of the great families who have owned it. Dartington originated in the 1390s when John Holand, the half brother to King Richard II, created a medieval manor house on the hillside overlooking the river Dart.
Trees are a principal feature of the gardens, which appear on the Tree register and have a Grade 2 listing, with many veteran and some ancient trees. Many of the great trees so prominent in the gardens today, including the Platanus x acerifolia, Quercus sp, 300-400-year-old Castanea sativa, were planted by the Champernowne family, who lived in the hall for 366 years.
Due to the age of the trees there is a possibility that their life-span is ending in the next half century. Dartington is also home to one of Britain’s rarest native trees – the Black Poplar (Populus nigra subsp. Betulifolia).
There are thought to be only 7000 left in Britain but the Dartington Estate is lucky enough to have 4 Black Poplar trees. The estate has also played host to The Agroforestry Research Trust for some years and encouraging a wider uptake of agroforestry on the estate became a priority as part of its Land Use Review.