Charles Ackers Redwood Grove and Naylor Pinetum

The forest at Leighton contains one of the most famous and historically significant stands of trees in the UK. The original cathedral-like stand of towering coast redwoods was planted in 1857 and still stands today, unthinned and healthy.


The original Old Grove planted in 1857 by the rural innovator John Naylor contains some of the oldest coast redwoods in the UK.

In 1931, the respected forester Charles Ackers bought the wood and planted the surrounding 1934 coast redwood plantation.  He then generously gifted the woods to the RFS in 1958 under the agreement that the Old Grove would be protected. The work at Leighton now focuses on maintaining the redwoods and the neighbouring Naylor Pinetum. Started in 1961, the Pinetum contains over 100 specimens and many wild-flowers. Although the Old Grove remains unthinned, some minor work takes place in other parts of the wood for the maintenance and to ensure the trees grow healthily.

There is also a chalet made from locally grown timber, and winner of the prestigious Timber Trades Award for the best use of softwoods out-of-doors nationwide in 2002.

Leighton Redwoods Today

We are working hard to protect the special trees at Leighton, on what is a small private woodland of just 10 hectares (24.7 acres).

Access to the site on foot is available for local residents off a public right of way and we ask all those exploring the woods to be respectful:

Take only photographs, and leave only footprints.

Unfortunately, the car park at Leighton is no longer open to the public due to serious damage being caused by anti-social behaviour. RFS members & Blue Badge holders can access the car park by arrangement by contacting RFS HQ in advance. Please do not park in the surrounding villages.

If you are not yet a member but would like to help us protect this special place, and learn more about trees and woodlands, please Join Us.