Congratulations Ma'am, have some trees

By Michael McCarthy

A new woodland to be planted in honour of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee next year will be larger than Kew Gardens or Regent's Park (pictured). Photo / Thinkstock
A new woodland to be planted in honour of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee next year will be larger than Kew Gardens or Regent's Park (pictured). Photo / Thinkstock

A major new woodland will be planted to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee next year, the UK's Woodland Trust announced this week.

The 460-acre wood - bigger than Kew Gardens or Regent's Park - will be located in the National Forest in Leicestershire, and will be publicly accessible.

Its creation will be the most prominent part of the Trust's biggest tree-planting campaign ever: Jubilee Woods, which will commemorate the anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne in 1952 by planting six million trees, to create hundreds of new woods across the UK.

These will include Jubilee Woods of up to 20 acres and 60 Diamond Woods of more than 60 acres across the UK.

The Trust has launched a £3.3m fundraising appeal to acquire the site for the 460-acre project.

"We need help to create woodland for the nation, to give everyone access to the beauty of the natural world, and create a legacy for the Queen's Jubilee," said Sue Holden, the Woodland Trust's chief executive.

"It's a chance to celebrate the reign of one of our best-loved and longest-reigning monarchs while educating people about the need to increase woodland cover in the UK.

"We are one of the least wooded countries in Europe, so there's an urgent need for more trees to help double native woodland cover. We need people's help to make this wood a reality through donations and pledges of support."

The new wood is expected to offer easy access for 10 million people, create valuable new habitat for the nation's best-loved species and become the largest continuous block of woodland owned by a single organisation in The National Forest, which is backing the scheme.

"The National Forest is the country's most ambitious project to transform a landscape through planting trees and creating other wildlife-friendly habitats, so it is fitting that such prestigious woodland, led by the country's best-known woodland charity, should take root here," said Catherine Graham-Harrison, National Forest Company chairwoman.

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