No, this is not California but one of Northumberland’s many secrets where Giant Redwood Trees proudly line the drive to Minsteracres.
If I told you that you could find over 100 giant Californian redwood trees here in the North East of England, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t believe me. It’s time I let you in on a little secret and present the Giant Redwoods of Minsteracres in Northumberland.
Minsteracres is currently a Monastery and a Catholic Retreat Centre not far from the stone village of Blanchland and Derwent Reservoir on the Northumberland/County Durham border. Just off the A68 to Corbridge you’ll not believe your eyes when you drive along the avenue of the perfectly aligned (and absolutely massive) California Sequoia trees; 31 on one side and 33 on the other. It really is beautiful and such a surprise to see these trees in real life without having to travel too far.
Before I go on, I must say that this essentially feels like a private road up to Minsteracres. Be respectful and just admire the view; take some photographs before moving on!
WHERE TO FIND CALIFORNIAN REDWOODS IN THE NORTH-EAST OF ENGLAND
History of the Giant Redwoods of Minsteracres
Minsteracres was the former residence of the Silvertop family, a devout Catholic family, who lived here in the original house since 1758. It’s nice to see that the religious connection continues with Minsteracres having transformed into a monastery with the retreat centre opening in 1967.
It’s not clear when the first Giant Redwood tree was planted but there are over 140 across the estate. One was definitely recorded as being planted in 1857 and by 1873 it was already practically 10 metres tall!
We only visited the avenue for a wander up and down but that was more than impressive enough. The Giant Redwoods are well worth taking the time to visit, I’m not sure there are many places (if at all?) where you will see views like these nor where you will feel this small.
The Giant Redwoods of Minsteracres can be found just off the A68 on the approach to the retreat centre (DH8 9RT). There’s no designated parking (remember this is a road up to a religious retreat) but we pulled over in a small layby for 15 minutes or so to have a quick wander and take some photos.