West Berkshire Lockdown Woods give hope for the future.
Newbury Friends of the Earth has created four local Lockdown Woods to commemorate the hugely difficult period of disruption and sacrifice during the coronavirus pandemic.
Over 1,100 young native deciduous trees were donated by the Woodland Trust. These were planted in community events during December 2020 and January 2021, under a variety of lockdown restrictions. The fourth wood, at Stroud Green in Newbury, will be planted with saplings grown by local residents in November 2021.
All of the new woodlands will be managed sensitively, to encourage wildlife and increase biodiversity.
Lockdown Wood Sites
HungerfordHungerford is home to the largest site at Westbrook Down, adjacent to Hungerford Marsh on the south side of the Kennet and Avon canal. Previously the site of many majestic ash trees which had been felled recently owing to ash die-back disease this site was kindly donated by the Town and Manor of Hungerford for community woodland. On Sat 5 Dec volunteers from Hungerford Environmental Action Team, St Lawrence’s Church and Friends of the Earth planted over 850 saplings (see video).
On Saturday 22 May 2021 participants gathered for a lovely dedication ceremony at Lockdown Wood in Hungerford (see video).
Please contact email@example.com if you can help with future planting in Hungerford
Goldwell Park, Newbury
Over two hundred young trees donated by the Woodland Trust were planted by volunteers in December 2020 at the western side of Goldwell Park at the end of Northcroft Lane. These were later joined by 250 larger saplings, planted by West Berkshire Council.
In glorious autumn sunshine, groups of Lockdown Woods volunteers gathered with local residents to plant bulbs in Goldwell Park on 3 October 2021, About 30 people attended, including many families with young children, who really enjoyed popping tiny bulbs down holes.
Donations of a range of spring-flowering native bulbs and planting equipment were gratefully received from Dobbies Garden Centre, Thatcham Garden Centre, West Berkshire Council and Newbury Town Council.
Wash Common, Newbury
Newbury Friends of the Earth linked up with the Growing Newbury Green group, planting twelve fruit trees to extend their existing Community Orchard in Barn Crescent, Wash Common and a further 70 native woodland trees as part of the transformation of this field into another Lockdown Wood. Barn Crescent is Newbury Town Council land.
Another successful bulb planting day was held on 10 October 2021 at Barn Crescent.
Stroud Green, Newbury
The next phase of Lockdown Woods will be planting nearly 200 saplings grown and tended by local residents since the first lockdown last year at Stroud Green, RG14 7NU. Please check before coming that your saplings are at least 0.5m in height (from the soil surface), and are healthy. Stroud Green is the location for this new wooded area, and planting will take place on 6 and 7 November. People hoping to plant their special trees are asked to let the team know via the sapling registration form on Newbury Friends of the Earth website newburyfoe.co.uk.
Newbury Friends of the Earth
Newbury Friends of the Earth are very grateful to Newbury Town Council, Greenham Parish council and other groups for generous financial support.
Chair of Newbury Friends of the Earth, Adrian Foster-Fletcher says “It is imperative that over the next 25 years we double tree cover in the district to help biodiversity and fight climate change. West Berkshire Council have allocated part of Goldwell Park so that we can plant a wood to last in perpetuity and use it as a place to remember loved ones lost to this devastating virus in 2020. We hope this is the first phase of collaboration of the council with local environmental groups to dramatically increase tree planting and natural regeneration of wild areas, vital to a healthy future for us all.”
Dr Susan Millington, a Newbury-based environmentalist and lead for the Lockdown Woods project says “Everyone I’ve spoken to about this project thinks it is a great idea – to combine the environmental benefits of new woodlands with living memorials to the difficult times we have been through during the lockdown period, so that local people can have somewhere beautiful to relax while coming to terms with the losses they have experienced due to this pandemic. And their children will develop a personal relationship with trees they have planted in memory of loved ones, which we hope will transform into a lifelong love of nature. We would love more local residents to join us, growing, planting and tending our young trees for many years to come. Visit our Lockdown Wood Facebook group and website newburyfoe.co.uk.”
How to contribute a sapling
If you have been looking after saplings of native deciduous trees in pots, and they are now approaching 0.5m tall (which they need to be to survive in a wood) please,