Historic Lime tree avenue at Northamptonshire country estate to be restored

Estate manager Rachael Gladstone-Brown

Estate manager Rachael Gladstone-Brown

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Restoration work on an avenue of trees at an historic house in Northamptonshire is set to begin.

The historic avenue of Lime trees on the Boughton Estate was originally planted around 1705 with a combination of English elm and ‘Hatfield Tall’ lime trees. Hatfield Tall limes are a distinct type of lime tree commonly used in 17th and 18th-century planned gardens.

Boughton House in Northamptonshire

Boughton House in Northamptonshire

Many of the elms were lost in the 1920s and 1970s during outbreaks of Dutch elm disease, while only one original lime tree remains.

Now, working in conjunction with Natural England, the estate plans to replant the avenue with Hatfield Tall limes.

Estate manager Rachael Gladstone-Brown said: "At present, the avenue comprises two original elm trees and one lime, whilst the rest are hybrid poplars and small-leaf lime trees planted in the 1960s and 70s.

“Our first step will be to remove around two dozen poplars in the next few weeks and take out their stumps in readiness for planting with Hatfield Tall limes next year. We plan to retain the existing small-leaved limes for a few years to reduce any visual impact, before they too are replaced with original limes,” she added.

Boughton House

Boughton House

The ambitious proposals are part of a ten-year management plan agreed with Natural England in 2012.

“We actually began growing our replacement Hatfield Tall limes in 2008, using clones from the original lime tree and our replanting will continue right through to 2024.

"Of course this programme involves removing a number of mature trees; however, these are largely fast-growing poplars which have a limited life-span,” she added..