Trail 12 – Highdown Trail

Highdown_cvrHistory, Myth, and Beauty. This trail explores the historic hillfort and Gardens.

Duration: 90 minutes

Terrain:Follows mainly grass, some chalk and flint paths. Wet and slippery in places.

Cover_12– click on image to open the leaflet

Highdown Gardens represents the horticultural life work of Sir Fredrick Stern and his wife Sybil, who spent 50 years creating the gardens from a disused chalk pit and surrounding farm land. Stern became a passionate gardener once he started this project and his enthusiasm culminated in him being awarded the Victor Medal of Honour from the Royal Horticultural Society for his contribution to horticulture.
Highdown Gardens holds the National Collection of the Plant Introductions of Sir Fredrick Stern and contains many rare and botanically significant plants, trees and shrubs. Many some of the first of their kind planted or propagated in this country and some still the only examples in the country today. These plants were brought back from expeditions to China and the Himalayas by the great plant hunters of the day including Kingdon-Ward, Farrer and Wilson. Recently specialists came from the Morton Arboretum in the USA to take samples of our Acer Griseum, the first planted in cultivation, as part of a worldwide study on the species.

We would very much like to highlight and inform about the horticultural heritage of Highdown Gardens both under Stern and the 40 years Chris Beardsley spent here as Head Gardener which also represents a huge more recent legacy and history of the garden.