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This winter, we will be offering schools and the local community an exciting opportunity to plant new woodland in the Southfield of Fairlands Valley Park.

Planting more 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.

As part of our commitment to helping combat climate change, we aim to plant around 4,000 new trees this winter with help from the community. The trees we are looking to plant are mainly native to the UK and include species like Field maple, Hornbeam, Silver birch, Rowan, Hazel, Hawthorn, Wild Cherry, Crab Apple, Walnut, Sweet Chestnut and Oak. We will also be planting a variety of tree sizes, from the smaller seed/seedlings to some over two metres tall. However, the vast majority of the woodland will be composed of whips, which are tree seedlings around 2-3-years-old.

In addition, we also plan to plant seven Silver Maple Trees within the new woodland to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th Jubilee.

Planting this number of trees will require much planning and preparation. To help the new trees, we first need to apply a treatment to kill off the rank grasses which dominate the area. These works are expected to occur on 10 October 2022. Although we know that initially, it will not be very appealing, this will help reduce the competition between the grass and the new trees within the early years of establishment. The application should be harmless to dogs, but we ask that you avoid letting your dog walk across the marked areas whilst the works are being carried out. Once the grasses have died off, the site will be rotovated in 2-metre lines to ease the planting process for schools and the community later in the winter. 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.

 It will take several years for the woodland to develop into maturity. However, we aim to include a mosaic of different habitats to enhance biodiversity, such as woodland glades, naturally regenerating scrub/woodland, complimentary meadow grasslands and access paths.

The best time to plant trees and shrubs is during the winter months when trees shut down. This helps to give a better chance of survival.

Sketch Plan of Proposed New Community Woodland