Survivors of the Victorian arboretum become fewer with every year, every gale, that passes. One recent casualty, I was sad to see, is this Narrow-leafed Ash (Fraxinus angustifolia) grafted onto the smaller stem of a Common Ash. Until I stumbled upon this tree back in 1990, I had never heard of the species, which is introduced from S & E Europe. The next time I saw the species was in Nunhead Cemetery, SE London, and then not until last year when I caught up with it on its home ground in the Letea Forest, Romania.
Not far away still stands the sculptural stump of a Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria araucana) a tree from the southern Andes, first brought to Britain in 1795. Beauport Park once boasted a magnificent collection of these, but most are now gone. This one blew down more than 10 years ago, and the trunk has almost entirely dissolved into the earth. The park contains an exceptional quantity of standing and fallen dead timber, invaluable to a range of wildlife.
Luckily, many of the huge redwoods continue to prosper, benefiting from the humid conditions of the high, north-facing slope.