We were thrilled to receive 15 disease resistant elm trees from Lees Court Estate in Faversham and to play our part in returning elms to our landscape.

It is estimated that 25 million elm trees were lost in Britain to Dutch Elm Disease from the 1960’s and many people will not be old enough to remember this once common tree. Dr David Herling (1963-2020), amateur scientist and elm enthusiast, spent his life developing a cultivar that would resist the deadly disease but would also be suitable for our climate and bear the same characteristics as the native trees we lost.

In 2015, Herling and The Countess Sondes of Lees Court Estate developed the planting of 9 adaptation trial sites in Britain, including Highgrove, Edinburgh’s Royal Botanical Gardens and Kew. William Robinson Gravetye Charity has been gifted trees from the collection and we look forward to watching the trees thrive in our High Weald landscape.

Our special trees were planted on 28th March 2024 by a team of volunteers from Roche Diagnostics Ltd in Burgess Hill in horrendous weather conditions. The trees have received rainwater almost daily since then and are settling in well along Main Drive. We will provide regular updates about their progress.