It all started in 1973 when David Binnian and his wife, Jennifer bought the land with a vision that took over 30 years to realise. It started as my hobby, just planting a few trees each winter, until it developed into what it is today. It’s now run as a family venture, with the second generation of Binnians fully involved in its planning, development and day-to-day management, and the third generation hovering in the wings. When Bodenham received conditional English Heritage status in 1995 it was realised that this was a major opportunity for the Arboretum to be enjoyed by the public and for it to remain in the family.
A Garden of Trees
The epicentre of the Arboretum lies around the big pool where many rare and ornamental trees can be seen in flower or fruit at all times of the year; their autumn colours are a special beauty. The Grand Avenue, which is in it’s infancy, is planted with Pope’s Seat Provenance Beech to mature over the next century. It stretches up the hillside to the Gazebo, built to celebrate the Millennium, and the higher reaches of the Arboretum where extensive views to the Clent Hills and surrounding countryside can be enjoyed.
Our collection of over 3000 species of trees and shrubs are labelled, mapped and cataloged in book form and computer. We choose plants which will survive our climate and the trees are laid out in sympathy with the landscape. There are a number of important collections such as Acers, North American Oaks and Alders, our policy being to mix up the colours, shapes and sizes of the trees throughout the Arboretum.
There is much to see at Bodenham and we encouraged to the public to visit as many areas of the arboretum as possible. Walks will take you through a patchwork quilt of pools, plantations, dells and glades which provide habitats for flora, fauna, insect life and numerous species of resident and migrating birds. There are farm animals and excellent vistas in addition to a huge variety of trees and shrubs both common and rare. The aquatic and wet margins to the pools provide a breeding ground for many water-fowl and myriads of frogs emerge each spring. A haven for the naturalist!
The arboretum site is bowl-shaped and within this bowl there are two miniature valleys which are fed with water from the series of springs. There first task was to decide where the pools where to be created, and then the location of the planting of additional trees. There are now fifteen pools exhibiting interesting features and with their own constant supply of water. Bridges provide access to the islands in the big pool – such as “Giants Island” which children love to explore. Seats throughout the Arboretum allow the visitor to stop and rest for a while to enjoy and take in the breathtaking scenery.