Thorp Perrow Arboretum and Falcon Conservation Centre covers 100 acres. Some trees date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Colonel Sir Leonard Ropner (1895-1977) designed and planted the arboretum from 1931 onwards until he died in 1977. It is now owned and managed by Sir John Ropner. It is laid out in sections that include the Spring Wood and Milbank Pinetum. Milbank Pinetum was planted by Lady Augusta Milbank in the mid 19th century, and the medieval Spring Wood dates back to the 16th century.
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Many species originated in China, Japan, North America, Chile, and Europe. In the grounds are five National Collections: Juglan-walnuts, Tilia-limes, Fraxinus-ash, Cotinus and Laburnum. There are 66 champion trees (the largest of their kind in Britain).
Crocuses add to the spring colours. In the summer hydrangeas, roses, and wild flowers add colour to the grounds. Bees, butterflies, and dragonflies are in abundance.
The captive breeding and conservation centre for falcons has 75-100 birds that include eagles, falcons, hawks, vultures and owls from all five continents of the world. There are daily flying displays at the Bird of Prey Centre. To see baby owls and falcons visit in the spring.
The Mammal Centre is home to Meerkat Island and Walk Through Wallaby Wood. Other animals are Flemish giant rabbits, ducks, red game bantams, silver spangled bantams, and an Orpington hen.
There are tree trails, a nature trail, and a children's trail, a large lake, a picnic area and a children's play area.
Thorp Perrow Arboretum and Falcon Conservation Centre
On the A1 south of Leeming Bar, Yorkshire
Tel. 0 1677 425 323 (arboretum) 0 1677 427 755 (birds of prey centre)
Open: arboretum, tearoom, bird of prey and mammal centre, daily, 10am-5pm, mid-Feb-mid-Nov; flying displays at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm; animal guided tour at 12.15pm; mid Nov-mid Feb, arboretum, tearoom, bird of prey and mammal centre, daily, 11am-3pm; flying displays at 1.30pm Mon-Fri, 11.30am and 1.30pm on Sat and Sun
Parking; special falconry courses; children’s play area; picnic area; outdoor theatre productions; special events
Web: Thorp Perrow Arboretum and Falcon Conservation Centre
Photos and text © by Barbara Ballard