The Turville Park Lime Avenue is in the Manor of Turville Heath, historically held by the Abbey of St Albans until the Dissolution in 1539. The Manor was then divided into six parts, one of which eventually came into the ownership of William Perry, who was High Sheriff of the county in 1741. He rebuilt the house and, as part of his landscaping, planted the Avenue in 1740.
A country lane now runs through the avenue, which actually stands on common land. The house suffered considerably from Victorian additions and “improvements”, but these were demolished by the subsequent owners, the Hoare-Nairn family, who lived at Turville for the greater part of the twentieth Century.
In 1740, the avenue was planted with Small-leafed lime (Tilia cordata), believed to originate from native stock from the Wye Valley. Some of these trees still remain and are now fine veterans. Over the years, gaps were filled when trees were lost, most notably after a great gale in the 1880s. These new plantings were hybrid limes of one sort or another. Years of neglect meant the avenue was in a parlous state when Turville Park came into Lord Sainsbury’s ownership in 1996.
Lord Sainsbury, realising the landscape and historical value of the Turville Lime Avenue, voluntarily accepted responsibility for both sides of the road and instigated a programme of management which includes regular inspection and careful tree surgery where it was necessary. He also created a pool of stock of young trees vegetatively propagated from the original stock, which has been used to replace any veterans lost over the years. Limes planted as part of the original restoration work are now well established, continuing the genotype of the original plantings, and the future of this interesting avenue now, thankfully, appears assured.
If you visit this avenue, look out for the Pinocchio tree.
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