NATIONAL TREE WEEK
National Tree Week is the UK’s largest tree celebration, inspiring communities across the UK to plant thousands of trees each year. The campaign began in response to the Dutch Elm Disease crisis in the 1960s, which wiped out more than 20 million Elms.
Recently the Friends of Gillfield Wood received from OVO Energy, through the Conservation Volunteers, a generous donation of a variety of trees and shrubs for planting; 200 in total. They arrived just in time for the group to take part in the National Tree Week celebration and carry out the planting of a majority of these 200 whips at the west end of Gillfield Wood on Sunday 24th November last year.
Some of the shrubs such as Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Dogwood and Guelder Rose were added to a hedgerow we have recently created at the edge of the wood around the bus terminus area. Rowan and Crab Apple trees were also planted in the nearby picnic area. In addition Willow trees and Alder trees were planted within the woodland that was created approximately 27 years ago at that end of Gillfield Wood. These latter trees should take well to the damper conditions this area has to offer, but only time will tell.
On the following Saturday, November 30th, a small group of Friends of Gillfield Wood members planted some Silver Birch and Downy Birch whips in another part of the wood to celebrate Tree Charter Day. Hopefully these whips will eventually create a small stand of birches within the wood to go some way towards replacing a good number of old birch trees that have sadly fallen down through rotting with age or have succumbed to high winds.
The call for a Tree Charter was initiated in 2015 by the Woodland Trust in response to the crisis facing our trees and woods in the UK. The Charter for Trees, Woods and People was launched at Lincoln Castle in November 2017, on the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest in 1217; it sets out the principles for a society in which people and trees stand together.
Trees do so much for us every day, such as improving air quality, storing carbon, conserving water, preserving soil, supporting wildlife and improving our wellbeing; it is therefore vital that we continue to plant trees, especially as we are due to lose so many through diseases. It is understood that we need to plant, throughout the UK, around 30,000 hectares of trees every year for the next thirty years, this is approximately the size of the Isle of Wight in trees every year. Quite mind boggling, but we hope you will be inspired to plant a tree this year, if you can, or perhaps join in the National Tree Week celebration next November.