Tree planting at Sheriffs Lench *
Those of you who have been keeping up with all the latest news from the Heart of England Forest will know that in late 2016 we purchased a large swathe of land at Sheriffs Lench in Worcestershire. Never ones to rest on our laurels, and with the help of a small army of volunteers, tree planting on that land has already begun in earnest. To date, over 11,000 new trees have been planted, with a final target of 18,000 being our ultimate aim for the volunteers this season!
A team effort
Extending the Heart of England Forest to the west across two and half fields of this former arable land was never going to be easy, and with the threat of freezing weather and gale force winds hanging over the teams, it was ‘touch and go’ whether the first of two special planting days would go ahead. The plan was to add substantially to the 4,500 trees already planted at Sheriffs Lench and mother nature reckoned without the tenacity of our hardy volunteers! Much of the land at Sheriffs Lench is exposed to the elements, with little natural cover to shelter visitors, so the planters showed remarkable fortitude to complete their task.
The Heart of England Forest team set about their task enthusiastically and the progress was extraordinary, with over 2,500 new trees finding a new home.
The Heart of England Forest team
The next group to take on the challenge with gusto were a group of over 60 corporate volunteers at a second planting day. Made up of colleagues from companies as diverse as Dennis Publishing, Wavemakers, the Environment Agency and Electric Digital, they continued the good work, planting an equally phenomenal 5,280 further trees.
According to Head Forester, Stephen Coffey, “The planting of 5,280 trees by volunteers in one day is a magnificent achievement. This is the best daily total so far for our volunteers this tree planting season, so we have a record broken!”
Here are some of our corporate volunteers’ thoughts on how their day went:
“I’m having a blast!” was the reaction from Katharine Snowden of the Environment Agency.
“It is a privilege to be planting trees that we know will be around for 1000 years – and it is fun!” Pete Brooks, the Environment Agency.
“I’ve never had 4 deer in my office before! Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture as I was working too hard!” said Roy Stokes, from the Environment Agency. At the end of the day Roy also had time to tell us how he felt his staff had enjoyed their day: “It’s been an amazing day. All I could hear was the team laughing together and having great fun planting trees.”
Dennis Publishing, a long standing corporate supporter of the Heart of England Forest, is based in London so being up in the Forest is quite a contrast for many of their staff. James Burnay gave us his thoughts on being out tree planting, “After the hustle and bustle of London life it is great to come to the Forest and get some fresh air. It gives you a total sense of achievement to be able to look back and see what you’ve done.”
Dennis Publishing volunteers
Stephen Coffey, was impressed by how hard our amazing volunteers worked and in such good spirits. “As ever our volunteers have done a fantastic job of planting thousands of new saplings. By the end of this planting season we hope to have expanded the Forest in Sheriff’s Lench by more than 84,000 trees.”
Stephen added, “Sheriffs Lench is our newest site, totalling 429 acres in size. We are planting a woodland mosaic here, which will buffer some important calcareous grassland, and improve the biodiversity importance of the site. With your help we have increased the area of native broadleaf woodland creating important habitat for our wildlife, and of course you can feel good, too, for improving the environment. You should all have a warm glow from your achievement.”
We are grateful to all the support we’ve had and would like to thank all our volunteers for their endeavours. If you’d like to join our merry band of volunteers, or if your company would like to pledge support, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
* photo credit: Dave Rawlings, Friend of the Forest