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Botanic Garden

About the Garden

The Botanic Garden has been on this site since 1970. It was created primarily for teaching and research. As the garden matured a visitor centre was built and was opened in 1988 by Dame Margot Fonteyn, the Chancellor of the University at the time, to accommodate the 6000 annual visitors. The garden now attracts over 80,000 visitors annually.

Conservation and Biodiversity

Conservation and biodiversity are key factors in the maintenance of the Botanic Garden. Pesticides are not used in the garden and a small of flock rare breed sheep are used to graze our arboretum and wildflower meadows. There are also displays of native plants such as cornfield annuals and a magnesian limestone outcrop. There is a bird hide and feeding station in the garden and bird and bat boxes are maintained in our local woodland. During the summer months its possible to visit our apiary and see the bees at work in a glass observation hive. Durham University is committed to increasing and enhancing biodiversity on its campus. For more information please follow this link :

We also support the work of Durham Wildlife Trust and the Durham Biodiversity Partnership. Over the years we have grown thousands of plants to support varoius projects to help;

  • Marsh violets (Viola palustris) - the larval food plant for the small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly, more...
  • Rock rose (Helianthemum nummularium) - the larval foodplant for the Northern Argus butterfly, more...
  • Blue moor grass (Sesleria caerulea) - a nationally scarce plant which is restricted in the UK to the upland grasslands of the northern Pennines and magnesian limestone grasslands of Durham and Tyne & Wear, more...
  • Common reed (Phragmites australis) to provide and improve habitats for otters, more...

We are very grateful to our conservation volunteer students who have helped us over the years with planting, weeding and coppicing.

Green Tourism Scheme Silver Award