Palace walk regains historic look

Final phase of restoratioin takes world famous tourist attraction back to 17th Century ideal

The final phase in the horticultural restoration of part of a world-famous tourist attraction is complete. The Long Water Avenue at Hampton Court Palace now looks as it did in the 17th century, when Charles II created it for his new wife, Catherine de Braganza. The original avenue had a double row of 544 lime trees planted alongside the 1.2km stretch of water. Lime trees have a lifespan of 200-250 years and although it was intended that they would be replaced in the early 1900s, the replanting never happened. Many of the trees decayed and died and replacements were needed. Hampton Court comes under the protective wing of the Historic Royal Palaces, which looks after all unoccupied royal palaces on behalf of the government. HRP has overseen the £200,000 restoration. All the remaining lime trees were removed and archaeologists got to work to determine the original historical layout of the avenue. Finally, 544 Tilia europaea ‘Pallida’ limes were planted — the original species planted by Charles II. A HRP representative said: “This approach has been taken to ensure historic accuracy and uniformity and will allow all the trees in the avenue to mature together again and complement the Long Water once more. Cuttings have been taken from the few remaining original specimens, which gives the opportunity to conserve the original clone stock for replanting when other avenues are restored in the future.

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