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Queen Mother's Special Trees

The Estate of St Paul’s Walden Bury consists of a Grade I listed Baroque-style landscape garden and mature woodlands.It has been the home of the same family since 1725 and was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

The estate is privately owned but there are a number of footpaths from which you can see many of the Estate’s special trees. The gardens are also open for charity on certain days of the year and by appointment.

The gardens

Beech avenue lining the vista from the house to the churchThe gardens were developed in the early part of the 18th century and cover around 50 acres. David Bowes Lyon, who came to live at the house in 1932, was responsible for the restoration of the gardens between the 1930s and 1960s. David became President of the Royal Horticultural Society.

The formal woodland garden has temples, statues and ponds. The design is based on the classic patte d’oie (goose foot) design, in which avenues radiate from a focal point. The avenues were originally mainly hornbeam but were replanted by David with beech.

Special woods

Across the Estate there is a mixture of woods, predominantly deciduous broadleaf trees such as oaks, beech and hornbeam, interspersed with some softwoods. Part of the woodland is coppiced each year to provide a good mix of young and old trees which enhances the types of habitat available and increases the number and variety of wildlife that can be sustained.

Hitch Wood is a popular bluebell wood which receives many visitors in the spring. A permissive footpath guides visitors through the woods. Each year, a small proportion of the oak is harvested to produce sustainable and very beautiful material for building and craftwork. Over the years a number of trees have been lost to storm damage. A number of oaks were also damaged by the snow in October 2008. Replanting is currently taking place

Special trees

Ancient oak in garden

Behind the house on the edge of the garden is a beautiful Common Oak which has a girth of 7.32m.

This would make the tree well over 300 years old so it was probably already a mature tree when the gardens now surrounding it were designed and laid out.

In front of the house there is an impressive Lime Avenue which is bisected by the Hertfordshire Way public footpath and the B651 New Road from Whitwell to St Paul’s Walden.

Lime avenue

We counted around 238 trees including replanting. The Avenue originally consisted, possibly entirely, of elms which were replaced between 1910 and 1915.

The avenue can be seen on this 1884 map and on an earlier 1769 map. The public road is thought to have been moved to its current route around 1810-20.

This map from 1884 has the Avenue clearly marked. (Citation 'England - Hertfordshire: 020', Ordnance Survey 1:10,560 - Epoch 1 (1884).

To the right of the Lime Avenue as you look from the footpath down to the road, you can see this spectacular large Sessile Oak with a girth of 4.5m. [Grid ref. TL19042150].

As you walk along the footpath in front of the house towards St Paul’s Walden Church, on the left-hand side you can see a parkland area complete with temple.

Lake and temple

A number of trees can be seen from the footpath including several solitary oaks, including an impressive oak which is stag-headed (i.e. the crown is beginning to retreat and the dead branches that rise above the leaves look like antlers) that is clinging to the side of an old gravel quarry.

Stag-headed oak by quarry

This oak has lots of standing deadwood which probably sustains a number of bugs, beetles and bats. The tree’s girth measures 5.25m and is covered in a considerable amount of epicormic growth. [Grid re. TL19162207]

Around the quarry there also appears to be a number of newly planted Whitebeam. A number of oaks, and other trees, lining the bank by the footpath. The bank marks part of an old road which was moved possibly around 1730.

Planted by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1938And finally, a large oak can be seen to the right of the public footpath as it turns off the drive down towards Whitwell. This special tree was planted by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1938 to commemorate her coronation the previous year.

Getting There

The estate is privately owned but there are a number of footpaths from which you can see many of the Estate’s special trees. The gardens are also open for charity on certain days of the year and by appointment.


The Bury, near Whitwell

Grid Reference



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