Express & Star

Walsall Arboretum set for year of celebration as it marks 150 years

One of the most picturesque public parks in the region will be celebrating a special anniversary next year.

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The Arboretum is part of the UNESCO Black Country global Geopark

There will a series of celebratory events at Walsall Arboretum as it celebrates its 150th anniversary, including an event over the May bank holiday weekend and exhibitions showcasing both the history of the arboretum as well as its fauna and flora.

The arboretum was officially opened on May 4, 1874 by Lord Hatherton, with a ceremony which included the 7th Dragoon Guards, comedy acts, a gala and fete.

Walsall Arboretum will mark 150 years since it was first opened by Lord Hatherton

It attracts more than one million visitors each year and spans 170 acres, which includes the heritage core of the park, the extension as well as Walsall country park.

The arboretum is part of the Unesco Black Country global Geopark, which spans the region and was formerly the site of limestone mines that were active between 1770-c.1835.

The Arboretum is a 170 acre site

It also holds a place on Historic England’s National Heritage List for England, a unique register of our country's most significant historic buildings and sites and is home to 10,000 different species of trees and shrubs.

A report published in July for the Ancient Tree Inventory revealed that the arboretum boasts the highest concentration of ancient and veteran trees in the entire region.

It's also home to the "Devil’s Toe", a glacial "erratic’ boulder" which was carried from North Wales on an ice sheet around 400,000 years ago.

It has been a centre for activities in the town for 150 years

Councillor Gary Flint, Walsall Council portfolio holder for wellbeing, leisure and public spaces, said: “The arboretum is one of Walsall’s most loved and cherished attractions which holds memories for generations of people.

"For 150 years, it has been a place for exercise, play, relaxation, community activities, as well as providing a home for wildlife and nature to flourish.

"In this important year, we will be showcasing all the fantastic work, the people that make it what it is, and encouraging residents and community members to connect with their local green spaces.”

Details of other celebratory events will be announced in the new year.