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The Grounds and Gardens
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University of Exeter

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The University of Exeter has one of the most beautiful settings of any university in England. Its estate, of some 300 acres, sweeping across hills which face south and west, contains a great range of plants and trees. Some of the property was laid out and planted by the firm of Veitch in the second half of the nineteenth century; and the arboretum includes trees from all the temperate regions of the world.

The need for an illustrated guide to the flora of the estate, long evident, has now been satisfied by this account, the work of Professor John Caldwell and others. It includes detailed descriptions of plants and trees, with supporting notes on the history of the acquisition of the parts of the estate and the University buildings, and on climate and soil. The whole is illustrated by eight colour plates and 65 black and white photographs, with eight plans.

In publishing this book on the estate, the University hopes to increase the enjoyment and satisfy the curiosity of all those who frequent and visit it.


The purpose of this book is to give some account of the more interesting features of the University Estate, and especially of the trees and plants growing in the grounds.

The text has been prepared by Professor John Caldwell and Dr. M. C. F. Proctor, with the assistance of Mr. A.G. Crouch. Dr. Proctor was responsible for the coloured and black-and-white photographs, other than the frontispiece and Fig. 4. Mr. Crouch marked the sitings of the trees and shrubs on the sectional plans of the Estate, and produced the pen-and-ink sketch of Duryard Lodge which appears in Chapter 3. Mr. R. Fry prepared the general map of the Estate.

Professor G.K.T. Conn, acting on behalf of the Publications Committee of the Senate, gave valuable help in the preparation of the typescript for publication.

Special thanks are due to William Holford & Partners for their kindness in preparing the scale plans of the Estate and to Mr. D. Morgan of James Townsend & Sons Ltd, for the advice and help he has given in regard to the production of the original book.

The nomenclature follows the fourth edition of Dallimore & Jackson's Handbook of the Coniferae and Ginkgoaceae (revised by S.G. Harrison) for the conifers, and the second edition of the Royal Horticultural Society's Dictionary of Gardening for other plants.

A note from the Superintendent of Grounds - June 2000

During the subsequent 30 years, the university has continued its rapid expansion of both new buildings and landscaping.

Thousands of additional trees, rhododendrons, azaleas and other shrubs, with hundreds of camellias, magnolias and herbaceous plants have been planted.

This has significantly expanded the size and scope of the plant collections and added scent and colour both in the early summer and autumn.

The NCPG National Collection of Azara is sited at the university, as is a wild origin conifer collection, which is being developed with Edinburgh Botanical Garden.

The development of the plant collection and landscaping is designed to provide a botanically interesting and beautiful landscaped setting for the university, which will continue in to the 21st century.

Stephen Scarr.

From an original printed in 1969 by James Townsend and Sons Ltd, Price 45/-

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