Advisory Committee Looks Over Castlewellan Demesne

Experts return to Castlewellan Arboretum and Annesley Walled Garden

The Advisory Committee for the ‘Re-Rooting our past in the Future: Castlewellan Historic Demesne’ project at Castlewellan Forest Park has returned to the Arboretum and Annesley Gardens to view the progress of major restoration works.

The project is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Newry Mourne and Down District Council, and the Council was once again delighted to welcome key stakeholders and botanical experts to the meeting and to benefit from their expertise in the management of botanical collections and historic designed landscapes.

Although the Annesley Walled Garden is currently closed for major refurbishment works, special access was granted by OB Construction for the Advisory Committee.

Members of the Arboretum Advisory Board on site to view the works that are going on in the gardens of Castlewellan Forest Park.

Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Cllr Pete Byrne said: “As custodians of the internationally renowned Annesley Walled Garden and Arboretum, it is vital that we take advantage of the best knowledge available to look after the wonderful collection.

“We are very grateful that the Advisory Committee give us their time and their expertise for this purpose.”

The Committee viewed tree surgery results and the refurbishment of the drainage system and fountains.

Seamus O’Brien of the National Botanical Gardens, Kilmacurragh in Co. Wicklow said: “It was beneficial to see what works had been carried out to remove dead or dying trees within the garden as well as the selective thinning, which was carried out to enable better airflow.

“It has enabled the Advisory Committee to offer further specific advice regarding additional steps that can be taken for disease control and to ensure the ongoing health and vitality of this unique tree collection.”

Alwyn Sinnamon, Head Gardener, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, with an image showing how the landscape of Castlewellan Forest Park has changed over the last 130 years.

The closure of the Annesley Walled Garden is necessary to facilitate essential drainage work, restoration of the cobble path sidings, the green houses and the fountains.

Visitors can still take a stroll through the wider Arboretum which covers much of the north-eastern side of the lake as far across as the Cypress Pond.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has provided £2,695,700.00 (49% of the total eligible project cost of £5,513,452.00) and Newry Mourne and Dopwn District Council is providing the match funding. 

Money raised by the National Lottery, goes to inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £41 billion for projects and over 565,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.

Membership of the Advisory Group

Forest Service – Landowners.

Irish Tree Society.

International Dendrology Society.

Northern Ireland Heritage Garden Trust.

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

Irish Garden Plant Society.


Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Ireland.

National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh.