Nestled in the heart of the Cheshire countryside in the picturesque village of Swettenham lies this horticultural treasure. The arboretum was the lifelong project of Sir Bernard Lovell, founder of the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope, who developed the site from open grassland in 1948. Now owned and managed by the Tatton Garden Society the Arboretum extends to about 16 ha and features over 800 species and 2500 trees and shrubs, including 2 National Collections and a collection of endangered conifers. There is also 12.5 acres of wild wood owned by Cheshire Wildlife Trust and meadows filled with wild flowers.
The Arboretum contains a number of Avenues:
Reith Avenue of Tilia platyphyllos Rubra (Red Twigged Limes), was planted to commemorate Bernard Lovell’s BBC Reith lectures in 1958. This runs south of the lake (excavated in 1963) and curves into the Jubilee Ride of Populus sp.Tacatricho 32 (now Populus sp. Balsam Spire) which was planted on the occasion of the Queen’s Jubilee. Knights Avenue consisting of Populus nigra was planted to commemorate the Knighthood of Bernard Lovell.
Golden Avenue commemorates the Golden Wedding Anniversary of the Lovells and leads to the Western excarpment where there is a viewpoint.
The Great Avenue in the Northern part of the site consists of a range of native species planted by local schoolchildren.
Sir Bernard Lovell’s aim was to collect at least one specimen of each of the genera listed in the four volumes of W.J. Bean ‘Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles’. The project was successful apart from some 50 genera which were not hardy in the area. The recently introduced Heptacodium jasminoides from China, the Dalmation Laburnum (Petteria ramentacea) and the rare Poliothyrsis sinensis from China, have been secured to continue this aim.
The arboretum is a wonderful space that’s open daily to the public, except Christmas Day from 9am to sunset. Groups are welcome and guided tours available by prior arrangement. Entry is by the outside eating area of the Swettenham Arms and parking is available in Swettenham Arms Car park.
There are two days each year when the site is open for the National Garden Society charity. Entrance charge is £2.50, but is free to members of the Society and to RHS members. If no one is present to receive the money, it may be put in the brick box at the entrance. The money is badly needed to help maintain this beautiful site.
Full Address: Swettenham Village , Congleton , Cheshire , CW12 2LF