In July this year, my son and I went to visit West Berkshire Councilor Steve Masters who had joined the tree protectors at Jones Hill Wood in the Chilterns, which was under threat from H2S. We camped the night and got to appreciate the woods which had inspired Roald Dahl to write Fantastic Mr Fox. It became clear to us that even if the woods sadly couldn’t be saved, there were hundreds of saplings that could be rescued and rehomed. So we returned a week later with spades and dug up over 200 oak, ash, holly, cherry and maple saplings and put the word out in the local area that we had saplings looking for new homes.
Straight away we were pleased to get a response from Jo Harbinson at St Michael’s Close in Lambourn.
“When we heard that there were saplings from Jones Hill Wood that needed a forever home, we were delighted to be able to offer some of them a new home as we tend the grounds at St Michael’s ourselves” explains Jo Harbison who has worked at Sheepdrove Organic Farm and now lives at the over 55s development at St Michael’s Close. “We have taken six small cherry saplings which should flower in the spring & bear small fruits for the birds in the autumn. This was our way of supporting the efforts of the tree protectors who are highlighting the destruction caused to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to make way for HS2. We also live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the North Wessex Downs) and together with wider environmental issues of climate change and loss of biodiversity that affect us all, this is an issue that we feel very concerned about.”
Jo nurtured the saplings during the summer and then invited us to join the community at St Michael’s Cose for a ceremonial planting on Thursday 1 October.
“The site we have chosen for the saplings is along the fence on the corner of Baydon Road & Parsonage Lane,” continues Jo. “So the trees can be enjoyed by the residents but also be seen from the road so in the fullness of time we hope our rescue trees will be a spectacle to be enjoyed by all.’