The National Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded Oxford £191,420, paving the way towards further application towards a multi-million pound Centre at a later date.
The project aims to unlock the site’s unique natural heritage, landscape and collection of threatened trees, build partnerships with local communities and work with Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry and social prescribing partnership to increase wellbeing from access to nature.
The Centre will offer new all-weather education facilities, café and shop, transforming the visitor experience.
A key objective of the project is to increase public awareness of the importance of plants and biodiversity, heritage landscape, and crafts.
Harcourt Arboretum comprises 130 acres of Grade One listed heritage landscape. It sits within a wider Capability Brown-crafted landscape and includes a pinetum with some of the UK’s oldest giant redwoods, a Picturesque Serpentine Ride designed by William Gilpin, a native woodland, managed multi-species coppice and a wild flower meadow.
Commenting on the award, Professor Simon Hiscock (Director of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum) said: 'We are delighted to receive this support thanks to National Lottery players. The Arboretum, which consists of a nationally important collection of trees, native woodland, and wildflower meadows has so much to offer people as a haven of biodiversity and wellbeing. A new Visitor and Learning Centre will open up this potential to new visitors and diverse audiences and allow us to share the importance of plants and biodiversity to people’s lives and the future of our planet at a time when this message has never been more important.'