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Thorpe Perrow Arboretum near Bedale in Lower Wensleydale


Over thirty years ago would be the is first time I visited the Arboretum at Thorpe Perrow, which can be found just outside Bedale in the direction of Masham on the B6268.  In my ignorance I didn’t even know what an arboretum was! It was a WI trip, an evening event, a summer evening I suppose, but remember it was cold and not at all sunny but was still very impressed with what I saw even then. Since then I’ve been a couple of times but over the years, the place has changed and of course the arboretum has become more and more mature and stunningly beautiful.  It was purchased by the Ropner’s in 1927 and handed down through the generations until eventually the Arboretum became Sir Leonards. He called it his ‘Secret Garden’ of which he was extremely proud but towards the end of his life it had become neglected. Upon his death in 1977 his son, Sir John was faced with the problem of what to do with these 85 acres. Alan Mitchell, (the famous dendrologist) was asked to come and advise, and when he re-emerged from the jungle he said that in no uncertain terms the collection should be preserved at all costs. Picking up the challenge; time, toil and teamwork has gone into making Thorp Perrow what you see today. Sir John and his wife, Niki worked tirelessly, constantly improving and developing the Arboretum with a very hands-on approach. In 2016, following the death of Sir John, his son Sir Henry and wife Natasha along with their children took hold of the reins.

Last year Joanne and Paul,  our children, now very grown up, and grandchildren spent the day there finding lots to do for all of them, meeting exotic birds and animals in the Bird of Prey & Mammal centre especially the baby kangaroos, there were some white ones too! The meerkats were definitely a hit with the grandchildren. Time was spent exploring the secret hideaways hidden thought-out the arboretum.  A warm welcome awaited them in the café which serves a mouth-watering selection of seasonal lunches, snacks, hot & cold drinks and treats.  

Keep up to date with their family event days on their website.  https://www.thorpperrow.com/

Want to stay in a cottage nearby? Then give us a call, Nadine or Joanne, or have a look on our website for lots of ideas and photos and book online.  We always love to hear from you!

Country Hideaways

Written By Nadine Bell

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