Council Welcomes Expert Advice at Recent Meeting for Castlewellan Arboretum and Annesley Gardens
The second meeting of the Advisory Committee for the ongoing heritage project at Castlewellan Forest Park, met on Wednesday 19 April in the Park’s Arboretum and Annesley Gardens.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council was delighted to welcome key stakeholders and professionals to the meeting who have expert knowledge in the management of botanical collections and historic designed landscapes.
The Advisory Committee meets biannually to advise on elements of the ‘Re-Rooting our Past in the Future: Castlewellan Historic Demesne’ project and review the restoration and development of Arboretum and Annesley Gardens. The project is funded by both The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Council with the overall aim of connecting people with the built and natural heritage within the Park, as well as restore and celebrate its unique biodiversity.
At the meeting the Committee reviewed plans to ensure the long-term survival of the botanical/dendrological heritage of the landscape. It made several recommendations including the development of a policy for plant collections management, improving resilience of mature trees, historic planting styles, management of structural views and treatment of the shelterbelt that is a wind barrier and provides protection from soil erosion. Drainage and disease control were also discussed with a focus on climate change and the potential impact on the collection.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage said, “We are delighted to be hosting an Advisory Committee meeting in Castlewellan. Attendees give their time freely to provide advice and guidance to our staff regarding the management and maintenance of the tree and plant collection. To receive advice from a wide range of stakeholders on topics such as plant health, biosecurity best practice and climate change is invaluable.”
Angela Lavin, Senior Investment Manager at The National Lottery Heritage Fund attended the meeting and commented, “It is great to see this important heritage project at Castlewellan Demesne make a positive start to their plans for the natural environment within Castlewellan Forest Park. Thanks to National Lottery players we are committed to supporting projects that help habitats and species thrive, reduce and mitigate impacts of climate change and increase people’s connection with nature.”
To mark the occasion of the meeting, The Irish Garden Plant Society representative Maeve Bell, OBE presented Head Gardener, Alwyn Sinnamon, with a tree, Zelkova carpinifolia ‘Glasnevin’. The tree was grafted from one of the most notable trees in Ireland and only 12 young trees exist. The Council would like to thank the volunteers of the Irish Garden Plant Society for the gift, which will add to the rare tree and plant collection in Castlewellan.