The Houghall Campus' Arboretum, located on the outskirts of Durham City, boasts an impressive selection of trees and shrubs from various parts of the globe. The college's tree collection is considered one of the finest in Northern England.
The College's main drive was initially flanked by only a handful of trees planted in 1938. These included Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’ and a few commemorative trees like the Quercus Robur, also known as the Coronation Oak, which was planted near the Conference Hall in 1953. However, the bulk of the College's tree collection was not established until 1960-1973, when Jack Cox, the former Head of Horticulture at the College, oversaw the planting.
The collection has been growing since 1973, with additional trees planted in the Pinetum. Lord Howick, the University of Liverpool Botanic Garden, the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, RHS Garden Wisley, the University of Durham Botanic Garden, and the Viscount Ridley all generously donated over one hundred different species of Sorbus and other trees to the College.
The College is responsible for maintaining the National Collection of Sorbus Sections Aria and Micromeles. Some of these trees are very rare in cultivation and the wild, with only a few specimens remaining in their natural habitat.