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During the winter of 2022/23, schools and the local community took part in an exciting project to help plant a new woodland in the Southfield of Fairlands Valley Park.

As part of our commitment to helping combat climate change, around 1 hectare of new woodland has been planted with help from the community.

Most of the woodland was planted with whips, which are small tree seedlings aged around 2-3 years old. In contrast, some larger trees over two meters tall were also planted around the perimeter.

The trees planted are species mainly native to the UK and consist of:

  • Field maple
  • Hornbeam
  • Silver birch
  • Rowan
  • Hazel
  • Hawthorn
  • Wild Cherry
  • Crab Apple
  • Walnut
  • Sweet Chestnut
  • Oak

Delivering such a large project required much planning. Once the site was prepared, schools and the community were invited to help plant the new woodland. To kick off the project, dignitaries planted seven Silver Maple Trees to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th Jubilee.

Following this, a massive effort from the ten Stevenage schools helped to plant the woodland. Over 200 pupils, teachers, parents, and guardians took part, planting around 1,300 trees. The schools involved were:

The Thomas Alleyne Academy, Ashtree Primary School and Nursery, Almond Hill Junior School, Peartree Spring Primary School, Woolenwick Infant and Nursery School, Greenside School, Roebuck Academy, Round Diamond Primary School, Shephalbury Park Primary School and St Nicholas C of E Primary and Nursery School.

A further 80 local community members, councillors and staff also participated in a woodland planting event in January 2023.

Voting has now closed for the name of the new woodland and we will be announcing the winning name later this year.

84 people contacted us to suggest a name, and councillors in the Climate Change Progress Group gave careful consideration of all suggestions and agreed on a shortlist of 10:

  • Fairlands Forest
  • Kings Wood
  • Valley Wood
  • Coronation Wood
  • Fairlane Wood
  • Queen Elizabeth Wood
  • Heartland Wood
  • Attenborough Wood
  • Fox Wood
  • Strong Oak Wood
Completed tree planting site
Group of young people waiting to plant new trees
Mixed group of children at the planting site
Lady with a group of children at the tree planting site
Two young men at the tree planting site
Young boy planting a tree
Three adults and children at the planting site
Lady kneeling down in the planting site
Older Gentleman and a little lad
Young People digging holes for trees
Hands holding a worm
Three young lads at the tree planting site
Two young girls planting a tree
Two boys and a lady at the tree planting site
Young person planting a sapling
Man planting a tree
Completed tree planting site
Group of young people waiting to plant new trees

An event formally opening and naming the woodland will take place later this summer.

It will take several years for the woodland to develop into maturity. However, a mosaic of different habitats will enhance biodiversity, such as woodland glades, naturally regenerating scrub/woodland, and complimentary meadow grasslands. In addition, we have left extensive areas of informal grass paths within and around the new woodland so that it can continue to be accessed and enjoyed.

Planting trees is just one way we can help reduce the effects of climate change. Trees are incredibly beneficial. They provide oxygen to breathe, a home for wildlife, store carbon, keep towns cool, make places more appealing, and reduce soil erosion.

Sketch Plan of Proposed New Community Woodland