Case Study

Traquair Estate,
Enhancing the Landscape



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The Traquair Estate is centred on Traquair House and grounds. The house is amongst the most notable inhabited historic houses in Scotland, and the grounds around it are designated in Historic Scotland’s ‘Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes’. Forest Direct has worked with Traquair to deliver a number of commercial woodland projects, including a Woodlands In and Around Towns (WIAT) funded upgrade to path links and interpretation at the Estate. Having spent time on the ground, the Forest Direct team were thrilled by the potential to add further specimen trees to this designed landscape for future generations, and as such, the team volunteered their time free of charge to do the planting work and make this project possible.


This planting project aims to enhance the attractiveness and silvicultural interest of the Traquair Estate and its prominent designed landscape and striking formal avenue. In addition to the landscape design, the planting needed to complement the existing scientific interest provided by the Traquair Yews, distinctive heritage trees, and the natural habitat value of both the River Tweed and the Quair Water.

Fast Facts

Client: Traquair Estate

Project developer: Forest Direct Ltd

Trees Planted:

50-70 Black poplar – donated by Maelor Forest Nurseries Ltd

20 Bald cypress

Estimated net carbon Sequestration (tCO2):

Small but positive


Designed landscapes are often notable for their collections of rare and significant trees from around the world. Traquair is no different and boasts several exceptional specimens. To further enhance the Estate, funding has been obtained through the Borders Tree Planting Grant scheme, run by Tweed Forum and Borders Forest Trust. This has been carried out on some of the wet, low lying land close to the River Tweed using two unusual species:

• Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)

• Black poplar (Populus nigra)

Both these species are typical of very wet ground conditions. A clump of Bald cypress, a deciduous conifer, has been planted close to the house as an extension to its arboretum.

Five clumps of Black poplar, one of Britain’s rarest native trees, have been planted along the banks of the Tweed. As it grows, all this planting will be visible from new walks recently created as part of the WIAT scheme.

The planting has been carried out in response to the observed ground conditions where an old meander from the River Tweed can still be discerned crossing the river flood plain. In addition, black poplar is described as a very rare UK native tree found along water courses where it provides habitat for many other species.

There are thought to be only a few thousand original native trees surviving in Britain. (The species is a close relative of the cottonwood poplars found in North America.)

Forest Direct team had a great day planting and look forward to watching these impressive trees grow.