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Visitors to Exbury Gardens can discover previously hidden woodland with glimpses of the beautiful Beaulieu River estuary, now its New River Walk has been officially opened by leading UK tree expert Tony Kirkham (pictured in the middle).

The new trail stretches nearly half a mile at the eastern end of the 200-acre New Forest garden through tranquil coastal woodland filled with mature oaks, field maples, yews and hazels. Interpretation boards highlight interesting facts and historical anecdotes about iconic native trees and sections of boardwalk lead to estuary viewing points where visitors can watch birds and wildlife on the estuary’s tidal flats.

 Tony Kirkham, Head of Arboretum at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is one of the country’s top tree specialists and helped officially open the walk. He said: “It’s unusual to see oak woodland growing right next to salt marsh, so this is a rare habitat that we should treasure and appreciate. The New River Walk provides a wonderful contrast to the exotic plant species that Exbury Gardens is quite rightly famed for and will be a treat for those who love wildlife or want a peaceful spot to sit and enjoy nature in all its glory.”