For those that have ventured far onto our estate, you will have noticed the diverse range of mature trees that dominate the landscape. From Wellingtonia, Lebanon cedar, Oak and Douglas fir we have many tree specimens that originate from all four corners of the globe, and so our story of the Atlas Cedar tree begins.
Where does an Atlas Cedar come from?
The Blue Atlas cedar is native to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria, where it can form whole forests as the dominant species. A distinctive coniferous evergreen, the Atlas cedar makes a beautiful specimen tree. Its silvery blue to bluish-green needles are eye-catching in any landscape, and it develops an attractive, rugged form when given the space to grow freely.
Because the aromatic oil the tree produces, it is a natural deterrent for insects and wood from this cedar has commonly been used in chests and furniture drawers.
The Atlas cedar grows to a height of 40–60′ and a spread of 30–40′ at maturity. Height increases are at a slow rate, with less than 12″ growth per year.
The Middle Atlas cedar forest of Morocco is the last suitable habitat for the endangered Barbary macaque primate. It is also used as cover, nesting and roosting habitat for a variety of birds. The trees natural habitat is in forests on mountainsides at 1,370 to 2,200 m.
Currently, Morocco has the highest total surface of Atlas cedar in the world, and it forms vast forests in the humid zones of the country, around the Middle-Atlas range, the oriental and Northern High-Atlas range, and in the Western and Central Rif mountain range. The current total area is around 163,000 hectares, of which around 115,000 hectares (80%) are situated in the Middle-Atlas mountains. The species is in danger of human use, wood harvesting and fires.
Who planted the trees on the Patshull Park estate?
The family who lived at Patshull Hall from 1483 to 1765 were the Astleys. They supported the King during the Civil War and were firstly created Knights and then Baronets for their loyalty after the Restoration (1660). They sold the Estate in 1765 to Sir George Pigot, and it remained in that family until 1848.
We can’t attribute the planting of particular trees to either family, though we know that Sir George Pigot was well-travelled. He was lord mayor of Bridgnorth and in turn Governor of Madras. Having made his fortune as a Nabob in the colonies he was the owner of the famous Pigot diamond; it’s said he purchased the Patshull Hall Estate for a sum for 100 thousand guineas and immediately engaged his friend Lancelot [Capability] Brown to landscape the park for him.
The alterations to the landscape in this era were extensive throughout the 17th and 18th century, with changes made to the gardens next to Patshull Hall where there were an extensive arrangement of formal walks and enclosures with prospect mounds, statuary, knots and waterworks with an aviary.
It was during ownership of the Pigots that there were great changes made to the lakes surrounding the estate on three sides. The landscpaing extended into Pattingham parish with a cascade and an eel trap on Pasford brook, situated just outside of the front entrance of the now-hotel.
Other exotic examples of trees on the Patshull estate
You can recognise our Douglas Firs from their crown which tends to curl over. They can grown up to 100m, and older species will often have lost their lower branches.
If you visit, you’ll be able to see Douglas Firs (originating from the Pacific Coast Ranges), majestic Wellingtonias (from Sierra Nevada range, close to Sequoia National Park), native Oak trees, and aromatic Lime trees.
Wellingtonias, or the scientific name Sequoiadendron giganteum is known as a giant sequoia; giant redwood, Sierra redwood, Sierran redwood, or simply big tree—a nickname also used by John Muir. Giant sequoia specimens are the most massive trees on Earth.
They grow to an average height of 50–85 m (164–279 ft) with trunk diameters ranging from 6–8 m (20–26 ft). Record trees have been measured at 94.8 m (311 ft) tall. The specimen known to have the greatest diameter at breast height is the General Grant tree at 8.8 m (28.9 ft). A large tree may have as many as 11,000 cones. You can find Wellingtonia trees on the estate at the top of the 9th tee, and between the 5th and 6th holes.
Lime trees are not related to the lime fruit trees; the name “lime”, possibly a corruption of “line” originally from “lind”, has been in use for centuries. Limes appear in folklore across Europe. They are often associated with fertility, especially in Estonia and Lithuania. It’s also considered a sacred tree in Slavic mythology and German folklore where it also represented fairness and justice.
It has been associated with romance and lovers and the tree was often used as a symbol in romantic poetry. In France and Switzerland, limes represent liberty, and the trees were planted to celebrate different battles. It was also said that sitting under a lime tree would cure epilepsy. You can find Lime trees lining the 6th and 8th fairways and on either side of the dirt track by St Mary’s church.
Interested in more Patshull history blogs?
We hope that you’re as interested in the history of Patshull Park as we are, and we love to share the information that we learn. There are new findings coming up all the time and we’re always excited to write about what we know. Here are some more blog posts that we’ve written. Check out our History page too!
- What Is The Connection of Cockfighting at Patshull Park?
- The Story Behind Our Atlas Cedar Tree
- Are the Patshull Pools Man-Made or Natural?
- The Secret Underground Waterways of Patshull
- Telling The Historic Story of The Patshull Park Estate
- Do You Remember Us As The ‘Temple Country Club Hotel’?
- Telling The Historic Story of The Patshull Park Estate