Forming part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, a nationwide initiative created to honour Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II which has planted over a million trees, the new avenue is the first step towards creating an impressive new approach to the Arboretum, improving future visitor accessibility with new pedestrian and cycle route connections. The trees are flanked by hedging that has been laid Midlands style and interplanted with new whips to enhance biodiversity, creating improved habitats for wildlife. This project was made possible by the donation of 7.5 acres of land by the Leavesley family who are neighbours and long-standing supporters of the Arboretum.
“As our Patron, Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was gracious and unwavering in her support for the Arboretum over many years, from her first visit in July 2002 as part of her Golden Jubilee tour, to her final visit in May 2016 for the dedication of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment Memorial,” explains Philippa Rawlinson, Director of the Arboretum. “Thanks to the Leavesleys’ generous donation, we are able to create a permanent and fitting tribute to Her Late Majesty as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, a living legacy to her dedicated life of service.”
Launched in March 2021 when Queen Elizabeth II and the then Prince of Wales planted a tree within the grounds of Windsor Castle, The Queen’s Green Canopy began as a nationwide initiative to mark the Platinum Jubilee. The project was extended following the death of Her Majesty and now more than a million trees have been planted in her name across the nation, serving as a lasting tribute to Queen Elizabeth II’s extraordinary service to her country and her people. The Arboretum’s contribution to The Queen’s Green Canopy has been planted along Barley Green Lane, from the A513 roundabout to Croxall Corner, on 7.5 acres of land donated by the Leavesley family.
As well as paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and significantly enhancing the approach to the Arboretum for visitors, the improvements also build on our pledge to improve accessibility that we made on our 20th anniversary last year. As the project develops, it will provide a better sense of arrival and departure for visitors in cars and coaches and, for the first time, it will provide a foot and cycle path that links in with Staffordshire County Council’s cycle path plans.
Earlier in the day, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended the Armistice Day Service of Remembrance on the Armed Forces Memorial at the heart of the Arboretum. The service commemorated the signing of the Armistice which brought an end to the First World War and remembered all those who have given their lives in service to the nation since 1914.
In addition to the Act of Remembrance, wreath laying, and observance of a two-minute silence at 11am, Philippa Rawlinson read ‘Floral Tribute’, a poem written by poet laureate Simon Armitage in tribute to Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Armistice Day Service of Remembrance was broadcast live via the Arboretum’s Facebook and YouTube channels, and the recordings are now available to watch online.