Branching Out with New Tree Trail

Tree trail

Celebrating Kearsney Abbey’s standout trees for Love Parks Week

A new tree trail is being launched at Kearsney Abbey in Dover to mark Love Parks Week (28 July – 6 August) which celebrates the nation's parks and green spaces, and the dedicated volunteers and workers who look after them. The trail is designed for all ages as a great way to learn about nine standout trees in the park, including one of the oldest and largest Cedars of Lebanon in the country, and the tallest Italian Alder in Kent.

Many of the trees at Kearsney Abbey were brought back to the UK from around the world when the Abbey was a privately-owned grand country estate before it became a public park. European colonists introduced many North American trees to the UK, and several examples from across the pond can be seen on the Kearsney Abbey trail. 

The Indian Bean (Catalpa bignonioides) is native to the southern states of the USA with its name deriving from the Cherokee native tribe, not the country! It became popular as a tree in stately parks because of its large leaves, showy flowers, and bean-like seed pods.

Another tree on the trail has important links to the First Nations too and was used to make canoes and totem poles. The Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) is an American conifer that can grow up to 65m tall.

An English landscape would not be complete without native trees and several notable examples also feature on the trail. One of the rarest native trees on the trail is a Lucombe oak (Quercus x hispanica). Named after William Lucombe, it is a hybrid between a turkey oak and a cork oak. 

Standing out amongst the greenery in Kearsney Abbey is the Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica purpurea) growing to a height of 40m and with distinctive purple leaves. Where Oak is the king of British trees, Beech is queen!

Cllr Charlotte Zosseder, Cabinet Member with responsibility for parks at Dover District Council, said: “The landscape at Kearsney Abbey is the perfect place to explore some of the district’s most impressive trees. We’re inviting everyone to join the tree trail to get close to nature and learn more about this remarkable natural heritage.”  

Copies of the self-guided Kearsney Abbey tree trail can be collected from the Kearsney Café where the trail starts, or downloaded online at where you can also find a host of family-friendly activities to do in the parks this summer.

Note to editors:

The full list of trees on the Kearsney Abbey tree trail includes:

  1. Indian Bean Tree (Catalpa bignonioides)
  2. Field Maple (Acer campestre)
  3. Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani)
  4. Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)
  5. Italian Alder (Alnus cordata)
  6. Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica purpurea)
  7. Lucombe Oak (Quercus x hispanica)
  8. Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya carpinifolia)
  9. Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Posted on 25 July 2023

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