Flashdown Plantation is home to the very first trees planted by the Forestry Commission. In 1919, Charles Trefusis, the 21st Baron Clinton was appointed one of the founding members of the Forestry Commission, formed as part of the Forestry Act to replant Britain’s woodlands which had been depleted during the First World War.
Immediately after the first meeting in London, Lord Clinton and fellow member Lord Lovat from Scotland challenged one another to a race home to plant the Commission’s first trees. Records show that Lord Clinton had assembled a small team of foresters, ready to plant trees as soon as he disembarked his train at Eggesford Station. Meanwhile as Lord Lovat arrived at Elgin Station he was handed a telegram from Lord Clinton announcing that the first trees had already been planted in Flashdown Wood in Devon. Today, some of the same Douglas firs, larch and beech trees stand at around 40 meters tall.
Source: Crediton Courier
By train from Exeter (Tarka Line) stop at Eggesford Station. From the platform exit, turn right and cross Eggesford Bridge then turn right at Cott Cross.
By bus (5C Exeter - Chulmleigh) or train from Barnstaple (Tarka Line) stop at Eggesford Station. From Eggesford Station cross the level crossing from the A377 to Wembworthy/Winkleigh then turn right at Cott Cross.
Follow the road up the hill and take the unmarked left turn into Flashdown Plantation (1/3 mile, 1/2 km from Cotts Cross).
Plaque marking the site of the first trees planted in 1919 Photo: Shelley Sherman
Wikipedia Charles John Robert Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis, 21st Baron Clinton GCVO PC (18 January 1863 – 5 July 1957) was a British peer. Trefusis was the eldest son of the 20th Baron Clinton and his wife, Harriet.
From 1898 until he succeeded to his father's title in 1904, Trefusis was Convener of Kincardineshire County Council. In 1911, Lord Clinton was admitted to the Duchy of Cornwall Council and was appointed the duchy's Keeper of the Privy Seal in 1913 and Lord Warden of the Stannaries in 1921. From 1918 to 1919, he was Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Chairman of the Forestry Commission from 1927 to 1929, and a director of the Southern Railway. Lord Clinton had also been admitted to the Privy Council in 1927 and on his retirement in 1933, he was appointed a GCVO.
Forestry England Discover the great historic importance of Eggesford Forest today
Eggesford Forest is home to the very first trees planted by the newly created Forestry Commission in 1919 within Flashdown Wood.
Since then, the forest has continued to gather mementos of the past with several commemorative tree avenues, and a granite stone unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1956 to mark the millionth acre of Forestry Commission planting.
Eggesford Forest Eggesford EX18 7LD
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Avenue of Copper Beech trees planted the 22nd Lord Clinton in 1969 on the 50th anniversary of the Forestry Commission Photo: Shelley Sherman
The Peerage Gerald Nevile Mark Fane Trefusis, 22nd Lord Clinton was born on 7 October 1934 He is the son of Captain Charles Nevile Fane and Gladys Mabel Lowther. He was given the name of Gerald Nevile Mark Fane at birth. He was educated at Gordonstoun School, Elgin, Morayshire, ScotlandG.1 In 1959 his name was legally changed to Gerald Nevile Mark Fane Trefusis by Deed Poll. He was appointed Officer, Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (O.St.J.) He held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for Bideford in 1963. He succeeded as the 22nd Lord Clinton on 18 March 1965, succeeded on termination of the abeyance. He was member of the Council of HRH The Prince of Wales in 1968. He held the office of Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) of Devon in 1977.