Priestfield Arboretum, a varied and spectacular collection of conifers and other trees, takes its name from its founder, Thomas Priest.
Thomas Priest began planting trees, particularly conifers, in the garden of Harewood, his home, sometime in the 1920s. The Arboretum seems to have been a labour of love for him and he wished to be buried there when he passed away. After his death the arboretum was sold to Marcel Porn, who passed it on to his son when he died in 1949.
After this the arboretum fell into disrepair for some years, but in 1983 a massive scrub clearance was carried out and in 1984 open days began to be held when the public could visit, and the Friends Society was founded. The arboretum, which contains trees from all over the world, is now maintained by the Friends Society and its owners.
The trees found at Priestfield are mostly conifers, with every genus which will grow in Britain being represented.
Amongst the most notable species are the gingko tree; the only surviving species of its phylum and classified as endangered, and the Californian redwood, which is the tallest tree species in the world. The arboretum also contains other interesting specimens, such as the monkey puzzle tree, although its form is very different from that found in its native Chile, where heavy snow removes the lower, older branches.
As well as conifers, the arboretum contains species of other phyla, including a weeping white mulberry and a Chinese Sweet Gum.
Visits are by appointment only or on advertised open days as Priestfield is privately owned. If you are interested in getting involved with the arboretum or wish to visit, please contact the Friends of Priestfield.
Stony Lane, Little Kingshill, Great Missenden, Bucks HP16 0DS
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