A Norfolk country park with strong connections to the royal family is marking the jubilee by planting a 60-acre Diamond Wood.

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The stunning deer park and countryside at Gunton Park, near Cromer, has a long history of landscape restoration that previously won it a national award.

Now the park has teamed up with the Woodland Trust to create the commemorative wood which will be one and a half times the size of Buckingham Palace’s grounds, and has an acre for every year of the Queen’s reign.

It sees a major felling and planting operation along White Post Road which runs from the A140 Aylsham to Norwich Road to the park lodge.

Post-war softwood trees, mainly pines, are being stripped away to be replaced by hardwood species such as oak and beech – recreating an impressive avenue that used to lead to the hall. It is part of an ongoing programme by local landowners stretching back to 1981 which has transformed 1,000 acres of parkland, and which won the accolade of the nation’s finest restored country house landscape in the 2007 Country Life Genius of Place awards.

Owner of the Diamond Wood site Ivor Braka, a London art dealer who lives in the park, said: “Planting trees around Gunton Hall has kept us busy for years, and we are delighted to now plant a special 60-acre wood dedicated to the Queen’s Jubilee right a the entrance to the park.

“Gunton Park has had many royal connections over the centuries so it’s a great pleasure to add another to its long history.”

Those connections include visits by Prince Edward in the 1880s and the Queen Mother and Prince Charles in more recent years – with several commemorative trees already in place to mark the links.

The Woodland Trust is aiming to plant six million trees to mark the Queen’s reign and hoped the Diamond Wood project would inspire others.

Another Diamond Wood is being created at Halesworth Golf Club. Smaller woods are being planted at Skeyton, Rickinghall, Walcott Green, Diss, Grimston, King’s Lynn, Old Catton and Frettenham,

To find out more visit jubileewoods.org.uk/eastanglia

richard.batson@archant.co.uk

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