Descendents of duke plant tree in his name

Marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo with the Wellesley Family: RFS Vice President Sophie Churchill and  Andrew Woods, Board of Trustees
Marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo with the Wellesley Family: RFS Vice President Sophie Churchill and Andrew Woods, Board of Trustees

Direct descendents of the Duke of Wellington gathered in a magnificent avenue of Wellingtonia (giant redwood) to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

On Thursday, June 18, 200 years to the day after the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, some of his descendants gathered with members of the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) in at Hockeridge Woods, near Berkhamsted.

The Wellingtonia was named after the ‘Iron Duke’ whose historic victory is credited with bringing peace to Europe after 20 years of conflict.

The avenue was planted by his great-great-grandaughter, Mary Wellesley, soon after she bought the woods in the 1950s, as a lasting tribute to him.

And last Thursday, one more Wellingtonia tree was planted by the Wellesley family, to mark the bicentenary of the battle.

The woods are now owned and managed by the RFS after being gifted to the society by Miss Wellesley in 1986.

Miss Wellesley’s involvement with forestry goes back to her grandfather, 4th Duke of Wellington, grandson of 1st Duke, who would take his granddaughters with him round his woods as he trimmed the trees.

Rev Antony Grant, great-great-great-grandson of the Ist Duke of Wellington plantedthe Wellingtonia with Sophie Churchill, vice-president of the RFS

Hockeridge and Pancake Woods are open for the public. See www.rfs.org.uk