When the Peasholm Park Friends formed, in June 2005, there were many things about the park that needed to be looked at urgently.
The Island with its burned out Pagoda and dilapidated gardens was the most obvious, but Scarborough Borough Council had been recently awarded a large grant towards the renovation of the entire Island, so we looked elsewhere.
Several of us, including Parks Dept. staff, met together in the Park to walk the length of the wooded valley, called Peasholm Glen. We were armed with some excellent information. It seemed that in 1994 a member of the National Tree Register made an audit of the trees in Peasholm Glen. To his astonishment, he discovered that the Glen was home to several Champion trees – that is, the tallest, widest girth, best example of its species in the country. He sent all of his information to the Council and eventually, after some years, it filtered through the system to the Parks Department.
It was suggested that on this guided walk through the Glen we would try to spot these “special” trees.
This was incredibly exciting! We found there was a wealth of arboreal interest at every turn. Some of the trees we found are not just of importance to Scarborough or even to the UK; some of them are of interest to the world!
At least one of our trees was previously thought to be extinct; Dickson’s Golden Elm was thought to have died out during the 1970s when Dutch Elm Disease wiped out so many of England’s lovely elms. The Glen at Peasholm Park has not just one example of this incredibly rare tree, but it has two!
One of the other trees has yet to be fully identified by anyone. The man from the Tree Register did not know what it was – experts from Kew have not identified it. It has been tentatively identified by the botanists of the Scarborough Borough Parks Department, but this has yet to be verified.
Back at the Committee meetings, excitement at our discovery led to intense discussion and we decided eventually that it was of the utmost importance to develop a TREE TRAIL to make it possible for many more people to visit the Glen and to recognise and be able to value what they can see.
When we started, there was no signage in the Glen, few seats no management plan and the paths were a disgrace.
We determined to change all of that.
We decided to apply for money from different sources to assist us in our scheme.
We applied successfully for help from both the County Committee for Yorkshire Coast and Moors and the Scarborough Central Urban Area Committee.
Emboldened by our success, we made out an application for help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. And we were successful there, too.
Work has started on the first stages of the Tree Trail; many of the overgrown conifers have been removed allowing much more light into the Glen – allowing the Black Mulberry and the Chusan Palm a chance to grow much more vigorously.
Now that they are no longer overshadowed by the conifers, the American Red Oaks and the Eucalyptus will flourish, too. As will the London Plane and the Cucumber Tree.
Special attention is being given to an Acacia, damaged, probably unintentionally, over the years, so that it will be supported with a brace to allow it a chance to recover successfully.
There is a special place in the Glen where at some time in the past some gardener planted many Mahonia shrubs. They were planted near an incredibly rare Wingnut Tree...
You will have to visit it yourself to find out quite why this is such a funny thing! Towards the top of the Glen, there is a Lily Pond much loved in the past, much neglected now, in which still survive newts, numerous frogs and of course, lilies. It is in a sad state of disrepair at the moment, but our intention is to completely renovate the whole area and then to protect it with CCTV.
When that is done, the crowning glory to the area will be the return of the statue, Hermes Psychopompus, currently kept in a place of safety by the Parks Dept.
Come and see, tell us what you think...