Wed, 23 Dec 2020
THE first of the Lockdown Woods trees have been planted near Hungerford.
More than 50 volunteers braved the wintry weather to plant more than 860 young trees in Westbrook Down.
The trees comprised mixed native broadleaved whips donated by The Woodland Trust, plus 20 saplings, which local people had been tending in their gardens since the first lockdown in March this year.
The field, owned by the Town & Manor of Hungerford, was home to numerous ash trees which had to be felled due to ash dieback disease.
Acting chief executive of the charity Ellie Dickins, who was among the volunteers, said: “The Town & Manor of Hungerford was delighted to welcome Newbury Friends of the Earth, as well as Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) and St Lawrence Church volunteers to plant [these] young trees in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
HEAT chairwoman Helen Cukier said: “We were blown away by the huge amount of support and community spirit there was for planting the first Lockdown Wood.
“This is a great demonstration of how much we can achieve when we work with other local groups.
“Everyone wants to do their bit to combat climate change, and to plant a wood in memory of loved ones taken or affected by this awful pandemic was something really special that we’re proud to have been part of.”
She added: “This is the third time in a year that HEAT and Rev Mike Saunders with St Lawrence Church volunteers have undertaken mass tree planting together.
“As long as we can find community locations to plant, we’ll keep working to plant as many trees as we can.”
The Hungerford Lockdown Woods project was followed by similar plantings in Newbury and Wash Common.
Newbury Friends of the Earth member Susan Millington, who founded the Lockdown Woods project, said: “Our Lockdown Woods are special because they will be memorials for all the losses we have suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.
“In spring we will hold a dedication ceremony here, where people can dedicate one of the trees to a loved one lost to Covid-19’.”