FIFTY EXTRA ACRES FOR THE ARBORETUM
PALMERS LEYS PURCHASED!
On December 15th 2006 The Botanic Garden completed the purchase of Palmers Leys, fifty acres of the original Nuneham Park estate which lies at the top of the Meadow, Limewood and Bluebell Wood (see the area outlined in red on the map).
This once in a lifetime opportunity has been made possible by a Friends Appeal which together with several special events has raised £71,351 and gained us a substantial interest free loan from one of our members. There have also been two generous donations from two Trusts but we still need to raise around £60,000.
Plans for restoration
Palmers Leys is labelled on an estate map drawn up when Simon Harcourt bought the Nuneham estate in 1710. It has fine views, a few old trees and is little changed other than having been used for arable farming since being sold from the estate. The purchase will reunite the Arboretum laid out in 1835 with the rest of the estate and Capability Brown park and which are also owned by Oxford University (although the house is leased and most of the farmland tenanted).
The Garden has sought advice from the very distinguished landscape architect Kim Wilkie, who previously drew up the 10 year plan for the existing arboretum and meadow. The proposal is to replant some of Palmers Leys as deciduous woodland and to develop the remainder as species rich meadow.
The expansion of the Arboretum to 130 acres will have many benefits:
A greater area to conserve and nurture local flora and fauna
A reduction in the edge effect – the proportion of woodland suffering contamination from outside
The opportunity to incorporate the restoration of the habitat into education programmes
The redevelopment will be a substantial new interest for visitors
Offering the medium term possibility of greater access to the Grade 1 parkland
The continuing appeal
We still need to raise the balance of the purchase price (£60,000) and to pay off our loan. We hope that Friends will continue to be generous. We shall be:
Writing again to all Friends
Organising fund raising events
Appealing to other possible donors