History of the arboretum

Previously a deer park, the arboretum was planted by the third Earl of Ducie, Henry John Moreton. Passionate about trees, he began planting on inheriting the property from his father in 1853 and continued until his death in 1921. Many of the exotic trees planted in this period are now among the largest ever recorded in this country.

Through the war years Tortworth Court housed both British and American servicemen, and the trees and gardens received little attention. After the war however, the arboretum was back under good management by Leyhill open prison, who reestablished pathways and began planting again.

Over the years management steadily declined and eventually the woodland was left abandoned for over ten years. During this time the rhododendron, bamboo and bramble took over leaving the site inaccessible. In 2014 the site was bought by woodlands.co.uk, who have offered us a unique opportunity to restore and open it for conservation, education, and wellbeing.

The History of the trees of Tortworth

Read more about the Earl of Ducie, his family history and the creation of the court and arboretum in this article by dendrologist Tony Titchen

Read article