Campus Nature Trail
The site in 2018 after Rhododendron ponticum removal
This is how it looked in the 1890s.
The Terrace walk runs along the top of the old walled garden. Below the wall used to stand a series of glasshouses that have been replaced by a newer one in the far corner. Also, below the wall, is the remains of the old bothies and a series of raised beds used by staff and students for growing vegetables. A magnificent line of Sweet Chestnuts Castanea sativa runs along the back of the Terrace. These trees, which are over 400 years old, show well the spiral markings on the trunk. They fruit profusely but rarely produce large chestnuts.
Behind the Sweet Chestnuts is a copse of Pedunculate Oak, Common Lime and Sycamore with a few Large-leaved Limes. There use to be a rookery here but it has now gone. In amongst the trees is a small depression known as the Amphitheatre - the source of some of the stone used to build the original Hall. The Rhododenrons (R. ponticum)that used to line the Terrace were removed in 2015 in an attempt to control Phytophthora.
Looking out from the Terrace, beyond the motorway, you see a panorama of wooded and pastoral countryside bounded by the Hanchurch and Maer Hills, the latter once frequented by Charles Darwin during his visits to Maer Hall to see his cousin. On a clear day it is possible to see the Wrekin, a conical hill composed of Precambrian rocks of volcanic origin some 30 miles away.