Sidmouth is home to the UK’s only civic arboretum. The Arboretum in Sidmouth is unique because rather than being an arboretum in the usual sense, the entire valley around Sidmouth is the arboretum. The Sid Valley is home to a variety of heritage trees and abundant wildlife making it a wonderful place to spend a few hours.
The Arboretum was launched in May 2010 and covers all the land under the jurisdiction of Sidmouth Town Council.
The best way to enjoy the arboretum is via one of the many tree trails. The Sid Valley has over 56 miles of pathways and both the East Devon Way and the South West Coast Path both cross through the valley, giving you plenty of chances to explore this part of the East Devon Natural Landscape (AONB), the Byes and more.
The most popular tree trails including the Sidmouth Town Trail which comprises of a gentle uphill walk with wonderful views, the Sidbury Tree Trail which consists of two routes around Sidbury taking in farmland and sections of the East Devon Way and the Accessible Tree Trail. This trail is accessible to those using wheelchairs, mobility scooters and anyone wanting to take a walk with a buggy. You can start this trail at Sidmouth Museum and through Blackmore Gardens before looping back.
You can pick up leaflets with details of the various tree trails from the Tourist Information Centre, local shops and some of the hotels in town or find more information online at sidmoutharboretum.org.uk
While you’re welcome to explore the arboretum and Sid Valley at your leisure, the tree trail leaflets are a great way to help visitors and residents alike to explore the rich heritage of Sidmouth’s treescape. There are also themed walks that allow you to really immerse yourself in the arboretum, the Trees, Talks and Walks bring together a wide range of interests, including bat walks, bird spotting and walks that include talks about climate change and diseases that threaten trees. These walks are themed towards the seasons, so every time you visit, there is something beautiful to see from the spring blossoms to the orange leaves in autumn.
Every tree in the Sid Valley is seen as a potential Arboretum Tree. The valley has a whole host of interesting trees and plant life, including chestnut, great redwood, oak, ironwood, Cypress myrtle, hawthorn, birch, beech, lime trees, olive trees, sycamore and more exotic trees from across the world. You can find details of all the trees and where to find them on the arboretum’s website. Currently there are over 500 trees making up the arboretum site with plans to continue planting more.
Annually, the committee that looks after the arboretum hosts a Tree Week, where families are invited to join in on a series of talks and walks around the Sid Valley. See other events taking place in Sidmouth here.
If you want to explore the Sid Valley further, you can find information on nearby places here.