• Sim Elliott

25 Views of the Plantation, Goring.

The Plantation is a thin belt of trees created in the nineteenth century to connect Goring Hall to the sea and it runs in a straight line north to south. At the top of plantation, at ninety degree, there is an avenue of ilex trees more than half a mile in total length, running east to west. The photos in the post are of the north-south Plantation and were taken in the late afternoon on Monday 19.04.21.

Goring Hall was built in 1840, on land bought by David Lyon in 1834, "a Tory Member of Parliament for Bere Alston, a so-called rotten borough, controlled by Lord Beverley. He never spoke in Parliament, and, after Bere Alston was disenfranchised by the Reform Act, never returned to office" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lyon_(British_politician). He bought the land after returning "from Jamaica in 1830. Having acquired a fortune in Jamaica, the Lyon family soon established the estate on the Sussex coast." https://www.bmihealthcare.co.uk/hospitals/bmi-goring-hall-hospital/history-of-goring-hall#gdpr-out BMI Healthcare, from whose site this information about the history of the Plantation came, fails to mention that the wealth of the Lyon family came from slave ownership. David Lyon"was a slave owner, until the abolishment of slavery in 1833, when he was compensated for over two thousand slaves, held on thirteen estates." Legacies of British Slave-ownership (University College London data base) (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/23533 In 1937 the Hall became a private boarding school which closed 1988. In 1994 the Hall became a private hospital

The Plantation is a semi-natural linear woodland extending from Goring Hall to the seafront. Dominated by Holm oak (Quercus ilex) in the south and Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) in the rest, the shrub and ground layers are limited. The Plantation woodland - Adur & Worthing Councils (adur-worthing.gov.uk)

Walking through the Planation is a rather unusual experience, because its geometrical shape is man-made, it is not a naturally occurring wood and does not feel like walking through a natural wood; it feels an ethereal other-worldly place, as the tree (Oak and Sycamore) are very tall, but because of the thinness of the plantation there is a lot of light between the trees. The shape of the Home Oaks at the bottom of the plantation is very unusual, and feels very different from typical UK oak woodland (sessile oak (Quercus petraea) and the pedunculate oak (Quercus robur)); at the sea, as the oaks joins the beech, the environment feels more Mediterranean. Holmes Oaks are native to the Eastern Mediterranean.

With its evergreen leaves, the holm oak Quercus ilex is a bold splash of colour in the winter months. It was first introduced in the 1500s and, though it’s not as adapted as our native oaks, it supports plenty of our wildlife.

The holm oak can grow to 20m in height and develop a large, round crown.

Holm oak is an evergreen broadleaf tree that can grow to 20m and develop a huge, rounded crown. It was introduced to Britain in the late 1500s. The bark is black and finely cracked, and twigs are slender and covered with light brown felt-like hairs.

Look out for: the leaves which are glossy above and downy below, without lobes. Young leaves can be toothed.

Identified in winter by: its evergreen features which are present all year round.

Holm oak is a native to the Eastern Mediterranean but has been naturalised in the UK. It lends itself well to shaping and is found in parks and gardens.

Trees are resistant to salt-spray from the sea, and are often planted as a windbreak in coastal areas. However, they can’t stand freezing conditions and during severe winters they are prone to dying or losing their leaves, so are more common in the south of the UK. Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) - British Trees - Woodland Trust