Newbury’s Lockdown Woods Project gets go ahead from local councils

Lockdown Wood

The coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world this year has caused major distress and tragedy for people’s lives and livelihoods.

Newbury Friends of the Earth are planning to plant a Lockdown Wood to commemorate this hugely difficult period of disruption and sacrifice, where people can dedicate a tree to someone special to them, maybe a key worker, someone who has been seriously affected by this pandemic, or maybe died from Covid19.

Lockdown has resulted in many people spending more time gardening, including parents needing to occupy their children. So the appeal for sapling planting (see below) has been very popular. Schools, nurseries and community groups will also be invited to collect and plant acorns, conkers, hazelnuts etc in the autumn term.

Most home-grown saplings will be ready and sturdy enough to plant out in the winters of 2021 or 2022. So in the meantime, saplings will be purchased to plant out this winter of 2020.

At a meeting on 19 May with staff from West Berkshire Council and Newbury Town council, Newbury Friends of the Earth were delighted to find their project for several commemorative Lockdown Woods was enthusiastically received by the councils.  They were promised suitable land for at least two new woods, and expert advice and assistance with the project.

The proposal is to plant saplings in a small memorial Lockdown Wood within or very close to Newbury, perhaps one to two acres in size, which is readily accessible to visitors on foot from the town centre.  Additionally a much larger Lockdown Wood within the district, say 20 acres or so, is envisaged which could be a notable feature in the area, and make a meaningful contribution to the tree planting requirements of the Environment Strategy.

Funding would be raised from local and national environmental grants, public appeals, and possibly from private landowners.  It is not yet sure whether enough funds can be raised this way for sufficient trees for a 20 acre woodland, or whether this project will be contributing to an existing council or private programme of planting.

How to contribute a sapling

All you have to do is:

  • find baby tree seedlings growing in your garden or alltoment
  • pop them into pots of garden soil
  • label them if you can (if you need help try using The Woodland Trust’s tree ID app )
  • make sure to keep them watered

Once the saplings are large enough (this might take two years) there will be a ceremonial planting with the opportunity to make a dedication to a keyworker or loved one lost to Covid-19.

How to Find Out More

For more details, please join the Lockdown Wood Facebook group or contact Susan Millington, from Newbury Friends of the Earth on millington.susan@gmail.com

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2 Responses

  1. I have lost my dear Mother to Covid-19 and will follow this project with interest. I cant grow a sapling but would be keen to make a donation to a natural memorial.

  2. I am very pleased to hear about the Friends of the Earth LOCKDOWN MEMORIAL WOOD in/near
    NEWBURY.
    I plan to put surplus plants from the greenhouse out the front, and ask for donations towards this excellent project.

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