Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Attenborough Arboretum, Leicester

Passing the University of Leicester's College Court conference centre on Saturday, I saw discreet signs directing visitors to the Attenborough Arboretum. So I went to take a look.

The arboretum occupies a large site, around five acres, that once belonged to Knighton Hall's Home Farm. Named for Leicester's favourite son Sir David Attenborough, it was opened by him in 1997.

The university's website explains how it is laid out:
The planting scheme at the Arboretum is designed to display our native trees in the sequence in which they arrived in this country following the ending of the last ice-age, approximately 10,000 years ago. 
Thus among the first trees you will meet on going for a walk around the arboretum will be Scots Pine, Juniper, Hazel and Birch; among the last is the Beech, which apparently crossed from France just before the English Channel formed about 7,500 years ago.
I had the place to myself and found out why after I had left it and passed the main entrance on Carrisbrooke Road. As the sign says, it is not open to the public at the weekend.

So I was lucky not to be locked in.

I could now be passing my days swinging from tree to tree, clad in rude garments fashioned from squirrel skins. My diet would be nuts and berries, leavened with the occasional latte I frightened a passing student into dropping. There are worse ways of life.

Anyway, fans of arboreta will be pleased to know we have one in Market Harborough too.

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