The Tree Trail is a taxonomic tree trail – which means that the trees are arranged in families – all the oaks are together, all the birches and so on.
It aims to show all the trees that you are likely to see in the British countryside or in parks.
Britain has 40 species of native trees and many more that have become naturalised. The trail contains native trees like oak, ash, beech, birch, hazel, hawthorn, elder and holly plus some parkland trees like Turkey and Red oak, horsechestnut and common lime.
A highlight is the collection of rare trees including Whitebeams from Devon, Somerset and Monmouthshire.
In the willow walk you can see around 200 different kinds of willow. Twenty three species of willow grow naturally in Britain, the most common of which are goat willow, crack willow, white willow, common osier, creeping willow and weeping willow. Willows vary from tall trees to medium sized shrubs to tiny creeping arctic and alpine forms, examples of which can be seen in the Wildflower Plant Collection.
The willow walk was created to showcase some of our best known willows. Willows are particularly good for wildlife as lots of insects and other animals live on willow and eat the bark, leaves or seeds. It is second only to oak in the number of different animals that eat or live on it. It also has a fascinating heritage – willows have been made into all sorts of baskets and other containers, fencing and hurdles and had many uses in the past, prior to the production of plastic. Willow, or whithy as it is known in Somerset, has been an essential part of the Somerset landscape for many centuries.
Local basket makers and willow weavers have small plantations at Carymoor where they grow several varieties of willow. Different types of willow are grown for the colour of their stems, which can vary from white to reds and purples through to dark brown and almost black.
Traditional Orchards are a vital and characteristic feature of our rural landscape and heritage. This is no more so than for Somerset, where cultivating cider apples has been a major part of the economy and culture for centuries. In addition to being important for food production and the economy, orchards were also considered to be significant places for community gatherings usually associated with harvest and fertility. The most well-known of these traditions are wassailing and blossom celebrations. Orchards are hotspots for biodiversity in the countryside, supporting a wide range of wildlife and containing BAP priority habitats and species as well as an array of nationally rare and scarce species. The wildlife of orchard sites depends on the mosaic of habitats they encompass, including fruit trees, scrub, hedgerows, hedgerow trees, non-fruit trees within the orchard, the orchard floor habitats, fallen dead wood and associated features such as ponds and streams.