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RHS Wisley threatened by M25/A3 plans



August 31, 2017

Alan Titchmarsh in front of the trees under threat at RHS Wisley. Photo: RHS, Roger Allen

RHS Garden Wisley and 500 of its important trees are under threat from road plans to widen the A3 for M25 junction 10 ‘improvements’.

RHS Garden Wisley, one of the UK’s most loved and horticulturally important gardens, is under threat from Highways England road widening plans. The Garden could have over 10,000 square metres of woodland grabbed and over 500 trees destroyed if one of Highways England’s plans is developed.

There are currently two options available to widen the A3: one on the east side of the A3, and one on the west. Having undertaken expert highway studies, the RHS is asking the government agency to choose the east option – which doesn’t take woodland from the Garden, and wouldn’t fell any of the important trees. This option also improves road access to Wisley which receives 1.2 million visitors a year.

Aerial view at RHS Garden Wisley showing the A3 dual carriageway. Photo: Rachael Matthews, Dudley Smith Partnership


Losing the tree barrier on Wisley’s boundary would be visually devastating, destroy habitats of a wide range of wildlife, and dramatically increase noise pollution which would impact negatively on the enjoyment of the garden. Click here to watch a short film with RHS Curator Matthew Pottage talking about the trees at risk and the effect of their removal, particularly in the Trial Fields area.

Important trees that would be lost include ‘The Queen’s Tree’, planted by the RHS’ Patron Queen Elizabeth II to mark her Silver Jubilee, and a number of trees that are rare in cultivation. Five trees are identified as threatened and endangered, and excellent specimens of giant redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) would also be at risk. Their loss would compromise the designed landscape of Wisley, as well as altering the skyline of the Surrey landscape.

Alan Titchmarsh, RHS Ambassador, says:

“Wisley is the UK’s centre of excellence for horticulture and horticultural science and helps millions of people to garden and grow plants.  I’m calling on the UK’s army of 27 million gardeners to make it known that a disregard for these important trees and lack of appreciation of the national importance of this garden would not be acceptable if the short sighted and environmentally damaging option was chosen.  We must stand together and protect our Gardens.”

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says:

“It would be criminal for this irreplaceable woodland to be lost when another viable plan would avoid cutting down these century old trees and still meet the important need to widen the A3.”


CLICK HERE to sign the petition to help save RHS Garden Wisley and 500 of its important trees under threat from potential Highways England plans.

TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh stands in front of the line of trees, some over 100 years old, that will be cut down to make way for the widening of the A3 next to RHS Garden Wisley. Photo: RHS, Roger Allen


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