It’s an­other sig­nif­i­cant year for the on­go­ing work of the Na­tional Memo­rial Ar­bore­tum – a unique evolv­ing wood­land land­scape, home to a vast col­lec­tion of mov­ing and pow­er­ful memo­ri­als

Countryfile Magazine - - News: National Parks -

Al­though the Na­tional Memo­rial Ar­bore­tum opened 16 years ago in 2001, this year ac­tu­ally marks the 20th an­niver­sary since the start of ini­tial plant­ing at the site. Two decades on, the pub­lic can en­joy free en­try to a site that fea­tures more than 300 memo­ri­als, nes­tled amongst 30,000 trees.

Through­out this in­cred­i­ble nat­u­ral land­scape, you’ll find both Bri­tish na­tive species and spec­i­men trees, from Far Eastern dog­wood and tulip trees to Mediter­ranean cork oaks and black pines.

Else­where, the Ar­bore­tum’s po­lice trib­ute, ‘The Beat’, is an av­enue of Lon­don plane trees and horse chest­nuts. Whether it’s a trib­ute to the vic­tims of road traf­fic ac­ci­dents, or trees rep­re­sent­ing the fallen of WW1, the wood­land area you dis­cover will mean some­thing to some­one, some­where.

And this sum­mer, the Ar­bore­tum is mak­ing max­i­mum use of this out­door space with its se­ries of events com­mem­o­rat­ing 100 years since the Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele. Vis­i­tors can even ex­pe­ri­ence a replica trench in­stal­la­tion, help­ing peo­ple learn more about the con­di­tions en­dured by those who served.

The Ar­bore­tum will also host a Home Front Proms on 5 Au­gust – an evening of out­door or­ches­tral per­for­mances with a mil­i­tary band, fire­works and WWI-based drama. Be there for a sum­mer’s evening of ex­plor­ing life on the front line, life on the home front and an era of ex­ten­sive so­cial change.

As part of the com­mem­o­ra­tions, spe­cial WWI ex­plorer back­packs will be avail­able for chil­dren, while on-site cos­tumed in­ter­preters on key dates and a vis­i­tor art project will al­low the pub­lic to learn even more about the bat­tle.

The cen­te­nary pro­gramme will be­gin with a Re­mem­brance Ser­vice on Mon­day 31 July, which will also fea­ture a live stream of the In­ter­na­tional Ser­vice tak­ing place at Tyne Cot ceme­tery in Bel­gium.

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