Arboretum legacy is now put at risk

The first we knew of the sale of land by Novartis in Horsham was the story in the County Times. Allcard Close backs onto the land that is now to be sold and our immediate concern is about the potential loss of the trees that stand around the edges of this land.

These trees provide a very important habit for birds and mammals in North Horsham, and it is to be hoped that Novartis recognises this in the agreements it signs with developers.

The wide variety of these trees is not an accident of nature. They are now all that is left of the arboretum of Wimblehurst House which was created by Edward Allcard and his family when they moved into the house in 1881 and began to remodel the gardens.

Most visible is the very tall Wellingtonia, a feature of many Victorian gardens. The mature oak trees in the Coltsfoot Road area and the trees alongside Parsonage Road also formed part of the estate.

The head gardener responsible for the arboretum was Thomas Sparkes, who had previously worked for Edward Allcard at his houses in Kingston. Edward Allcard died in 1900 but Thomas Sparkes continued to tend the gardens with great care until his death in 1925.

I have spent five years researching the history of the Allcards and Wimblehurst House. I will be publishing my research in September and this will include a map of the arboretum.

MARTIN WHITE

Allcard Close, Horsham