The Hotham Park Heritage Trust Tree Trail

The Hotham Park Tree Trail

The Hotham Park Tree Trail tracks through the wonderful Hotham Park and identifies some of the more interesting and unusual trees and shrubs planted in the park. The gardens were designed and planted by William Fletcher who worked with Kew Gardens to create his arboretum in the early 1900’s.
The trail is suitable for both families with young children who can learn about trees as well as those with a more specialist interest in trees.

There are two car parks servicing Hotham Park, the short-term car (Lodge) park off the roundabout on Upper Bognor Road and the long-stay car park off London Road.

The Tree Trail starts in the short-term car park.

Walk the Trail

  • Distance: 1.0 miles

  • Time: 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes


Maidenhair Tree – Ginko Biloba

Start the trail by finding the maidenhair tree. The Ginko Tree is on your right by Hole 18 of the Wildforest Falls Adventure Golf which is located next to the short-term car park.

The Ginko Biloba would have been on Earth when dinosaurs were about. There are no dinosaurs in the park now but look out for the brown bear, wolves and reindeer. Note the fan-shaped leaves of the Maidenhair Tree. Ginko’s are deciduous as they drop their leaves in winter.


Tulip Tree – Liriodendron Tulipifera

Retrace your steps the path towards the short- term car park.  On your right is a small hut with the advertising board, immediately behind the hut is the large Tulip Tree.

The Tulip Tree is usually tall and thin and can grow up to 35 metres but the growth of this one has been supressed over the years. Note the characteristic shaped leaves. The tree has white tulip style flowers in summer. In winter the tulip tree can still be identified by the remains of its flowers.


Holm Oak – Quercus Ilex

Continue along the path towards the car park and turn right towards the Bandstand. At the first path on your right are a number of Holm Oaks. These are evergreen broadleaf trees so they have leaves throughout the year unlike our native English Oak. A number of Holm Oaks have been planted as a group.

Warning be careful to listen and watch out for the miniature train when you cross the line as you proceed along the path.


Silver Birch – Betula Sp.

Continue along the path and on your right you will see a Silver Birch Tree with its characteristic silver grey bark from which the tree gets its name.  The Silver Birch provides food and habitat for more than 300 insect species.


Coastal Redwood – Sequoia Sempervirens

Continue along the path and at the intersection take the right-hand fork and on your right you will find three Coastal Redwoods. The trees get their common name from their bark and heartwood both of which are dark reddish in colour. The bark of the Redwood is spongy to the touch.  They can grow to 100 metres tall.


Weeping Copper Beech – Fagus Sylvatica Purpurea Pendula

Continue along the main path and then turn left onto the new gravel path. Enjoy a sit down with the “Mad Hatter” at his Tea Party. The Weeping Copper Beech is to the east of the table. Beech Trees can live for hundreds of years; the wood from the tree is used for making furniture, cooking utensils and for fuel.


Caucasian Wingnut Tree – Pterocarya Fraxinifolia

Return to the main path turning left and the Caucasian Wingnut Tree is on your left, set back from the path, with bamboo in front of the tree and shrubs behind.

This Caucasian Wingnut was on the verge of collapse and has been braced together. If you look high into the tree you may see the brace.


Ash Tree – Fraxinus Excelsior

Further along the path, the Ash Tree can be found on the right-hand side close to the path. In winter the Ash Tree has black buds and flattened twigs.


Southern Magnolia – Magnolia Grandiflora

Continue along the main path. The Magnolia Grandiflora is on your left opposite the Ash Tree. The Southern Magnolia produces white scented flowers during late spring.


Sweetgum Tree – Liquidambar Styracifua

Taking the gravel path, the Sweetgum Tree is on your right a short way down.  The Sweetgum Tree has an interesting leaf shape.

Look out for the White Rabbit close to the Sweetgum Tree.


Fan Palm – Trachaecarus Shamyrops Humilis

Return to the main path and turn left, continuing west. There are four tall Fan Palms on the left-hand side of the path.


Indian Bean Tree – Catalpa Bignonioides

The Indian Bean Tree is situated almost halfway between the two paths on your left, almost opposite the park entrance.

The Bean Tree has large leaves, which birds like to shelter and hide under, later white flowers and bean like seeds are often visible


Horse Chestnut – Aesculus Hippocastrum

Continue along the path towards the main entrance, turn right following the path sign posted Discovery Garden.  A number of Horse Chestnut Trees can be seen either side of the path just before the gates to the Discovery Garden. The Horse Chestnut has a characteristic leaf shape and in Autumn look out for conkers which have fallen from the tree.


Rowan or Mountain Ash – Sorbus Aucuparia

Continue back, tracing your steps back to the main path. Continue along the main path past the entrance and the Mountain Ash Tree can be seen on your right.

The Rowan Tree has bright red berries in Autumn.


Black Poplar – Populous Nigra

Follow the path towards Hotham Park House and take the small footpath on your left.  The large Black Poplar is located close to the railway line on your left. Many Black Poplars were cut down to make rifle butts during the war, so they are quite rare.

Carry on past ‘Alice’ and you will find the Ornamental Pond.


Weeping Ash – Fraxinus Excelsior Pendula

Walk past the Mary Macfie Pavilion and the Weeping Ash is on the side of the path close to the Ornamental Pond. Sometimes the leaves of the Weeping Ash turn yellow in Autumn. It is unusual to see a Weeping Ash so close to the coast.


Hornbeam – Carpinus Betulus

Carry on down the path past the Weeping Ash and the Hornbeam is on your right, a short way down. The Hornbeam gets its name from the hardness of its timber – horn means hard and beam was the name for a tree in Old English.  Notice the highly patterned leaves of the Hornbeam.


Alder – Alnus Glutinosa

The Alder Trees are on the right-hand side of the path just before the miniature railway line. The Engine Shed is behind the trees. Alder Trees provide the food for the caterpillars of several species of moth.


Elm – Ulmus Sp.

Take the path past Hotham Park Café towards the park entrance.  The Elm Tree, now rare in the UK, is on the left just before the park entrance. The Elm leaves look like stinging nettle leaves but without the sting. In the 1960’s Dutch Elm disease killed a large number of Elm Trees in the UK.


Cork Oak – Quercus Suber

Retrace your steps back past the café and take the main path on your right past the railway station and head towards Hotham Park House. Follow the path past the Sundial and Clock Tower. Take the path towards the car park and the Cork Oak can be found on your left by the railway crossing.

The Cork Oak has a really interesting knobbly bark.  The tree is native to Southwest Europe and Northwest Africa where it is cultivated as a source of cork. The trees can live for up to 300 years. William Fletcher brought the Cork Oak from Goodwood and planted it in the gardens to celebrate his marriage to his wife Agnes.


Sweet Chestnut Tree – Castanea Sativa

The Sweet Chestnut Tree is close to the path in front of the Bandstand. The Sweet Chestnut has long catkins in summer that develop into chestnuts in the autumn.

Look at the amazing root structure at the base of the trunk.


Blue Cedar – Cedrus Atlantica Glauca

The Blue Cedar is a small new tree, which can be found behind the Bandstand. It has characteristic blue pine-like leaves. The tree was planted by Hotham Park Heritage Trust in 2012 to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee. In the future this tree could grow to be 40 metres tall.


Yew Tree – Taxus Baccata

We started the trail with a tree, which was around at the time of the dinosaurs and end the trail with a tree which can live to be some of the oldest trees on the planet.

The Yew Tree is located at the rear of the grass lawn next to the park boundary. The Yew grows very slowly and can live for 3,000 years.

The Old Yew Tree ends the formal tree trail but there are over 100 species of trees to explore in Hotham Park, thanks to the work of William Fletcher.

Activities to enjoy in Hotham Park include the challenging Wildforest Falls Adventure Golf, the Playground and zip wire, the Hotham Park Miniature Railway, the Boating Lake, the Conservation Pond and Hotham Park Café. In addition, visitors can enjoy the wide variety of flowers, trees, shrubs and wildlife the whole year round.

End of the Trail

Activities to enjoy in Hotham Park include the challenging Wildforest Falls Adventure Golf, the Playground and zip wire, the Hotham Park Miniature Railway, the Boating Lake, the Conservation Pond and Hotham Park Café. In addition, visitors can enjoy the wide variety of flowers, trees, shrubs and wildlife the whole year round.


The Tree Trail is based on a study by the Hotham Park Heritage Trust.

The trees, park and gardens are maintained by Arun District Council Parks and Landscapes Department