THE chairman of the Castle Howard Arboretum Trust has announced he will be standing down this summer.

Professor Alastair Fitter will leave the role in June, after nine years.

“Leading the trust and watching the development of the Yorkshire Arboretum since 2011 has been an absorbing and fulfilling task,” he said.

“The past few years have seen the arboretum grow in every sense, becoming better known and increasingly a leader in the field of tree health.”

The board of trustees is now looking for a replacement.

“We know it’s not easy to find people to take up these positions,” said Michael Sturge, chairman of the nominations panel.

“We shall greatly miss Alastair’s good counsel, but we’re determined to find the right person.

“A love of trees and the environment, coupled with leadership experience and a willingness to get involved in fundraising and all aspects of the arboretum’s life are key things we’re looking for.”

The Yorkshire Arboretum started in 1979 and has been managed by the trust since 1996.

Its collection of more than 10,000 trees and shrubs is set in 120 acres in parkland adjacent to Castle Howard, attracts 30,000 visitors annually.