An arboretum is a "tree museum" that showcases a range of different species of trees. Marbury's arboretum was originally planted in the mid-1800s, as part of the landscaped grounds of Marbury Hall. The Hall fell into decline, becoming a country club, prisoner of war camp and accommodation for ICI workers before being demolished in 1968. Today the surviving parts of the grounds including the arboretum sit within Marbury Country Park, itself part of the growing Northwich Woodlands.
The trees were originally planted in the shape of a cartwheel, bordered by Lawson Cypress. Many of the trees are evergreens, including pines, cedars, holly, yew and holm oak. A few are native to this country, but others come from Europe, America or Asia.
Restoration began in the early 1970s with the removal of dead or dangerous trees, control of invasive vegetation such as bramble, silver birch and sycamore and replanting of key exotic species. Today, the large number of tree species of varying ages creates a rich habitat for wildlife.
The latest phase of work has seen more clearance work to highlight the best tree specimens, and two new species of trees – Western Hemlock and Lodgepole Pine – have been added to the collection. The trees were funded by the national Big Tree Plant programme through The Mersey Forest.
Information plaques have been installed to help visitors identify and learn about the tree species, and follow a route around the arboretum. A new entrance path has also been installed to improve access and tempt more visitors to the park inside.
The work has been carried out by FoAM volunteers, with the help and expertise of Cheshire West and Chester Rangers. It has been supported by local chemicals manufacturer INEOS Enterprises through the Landfill Communities Fund, as part of The Mersey Forest.