The 800 trees – a wide mix of British native species – were donated to us by The Conservation Volunteers as part of its ‘I Dig Trees’ campaign. The charity is encouraging British communities to fight climate change and help wildlife by planting a total of two million trees. As well as complementing our own sustainability drive, our new Centenary Wood also forms part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, a countrywide initiative to plant trees as a lasting legacy in celebration of Her Majesty’s 70 year reign.
The planting project was carried out by students from all courses offered by our countryside department and by members of our Conservation Society, under the supervision of Lecturer in Conservation Heather Hulse. Agriculture students were involved in preparing the newly dedicated one hectare plot, which required ploughing, harrowing and mulching.
The trees, which include oak, hornbeam, birch, beech, alder, rowan, hawthorn, dogwood, hazel, field maple, bird cherry and dog rose, are being used to extend the linear larch wood in Field 36. A permanent wildflower meadow, a wetland area planted with goat willow and alder and a network of rides and glades will also be established to provide a mosaic of habitats.
Said Heather: “This has been a great team effort which will hopefully lead to a sustainable habitat offering increased biodiversity and supporting a higher density of insects and birds. Linking habitats is really important, so we’ve ensured that the new plantation connects with the adjacent larch wood. We’ve been developing this original woodland over the past ten years and the new trees will introduce a wider variation of species and age range.
“As well as assisting in overall land management our students will coppice and harvest the willow and hazel as it matures on a rotational basis, so they’ll be practising useful estate skills and learning about bio diversity and ancient woodland practices.
“The whole project will provide a great legacy which will benefit generations of students for years to come and be a very fitting tribute to the queen’s long reign. It will also make a difference to our climate and wildlife, and benefit our communities.”
Conservation Society Chair Ross Fuller said: “We have many students who aren’t studying countryside courses but who share an interest in conservation and who enjoy gaining practical skills. It’s been great that we’ve been able to support the project and learn from it at the same time.”
Level 3 Diploma in Land and Wildlife Management student Alice Warmisham added: “It’s great to think that the Centenary Wood will provide habitat for all types of species and will benefit wildlife for many years to come.”
Find out more by watching our Reaseheath Centenary Wood video.