This area, looking down towards the River Cray is home to three special tree areas. To one side is an ancient sweet chestnut (around 145m to your left), around 80m to the rear a tulip tree and in front an avenue of lime trees.
Ancient sweet chestnut
This wonderful sweet chestnut, lying on the edge of North Cray Woods and not far from the site of the now demolished Foots Cray Place, is one of the oldest documented trees in the district. Though badly damaged over the course of its life time, it is still growing and is reputed to be some 500 years old.
Today, the ancient tree – possibly planted around the time King Henry VIII was having his various marital issues – is sectioned off from the Meadows by a metal railing to protect it as much as possible from visitors climbing among its dilapidated split trunk. But the tree still provides a wonderful focal point for walkers.
To the west of Foots Cray Meadows – close to the car park entrance off Rectory Lane and to the right of the Friends of Foots Cray Meadows’ Information Centre – stands a tulip tree.
Sometimes reaching more than 150 feet in height, tulip trees were introduced to Britain in the 17th century – with its name deriving from its large delicate flowers resembling tulips. These are best seen around early June.
One particularly impressive feature of Foots Cray Lawns is the avenue of Lime trees, which runs from what was the gardens of Foots Cray Place, owned by Bourchier Cleeve from 1752, down towards the river across the area known as Foots Cray Lawns. It is thought that the trees in Lime Avenue were planted in about 1909.
A number of these came down during the storm of 1987. Most have been replaced over a number of years.
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