Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

First Planting Season is Complete!

Posted: May 28, 2024 at 12:15 pm Author: Meg Walder-Hills

It’s been a brilliant few months for us here at the Silk Wood Community Planting Project. Since January over 600 participants came to plant a grand total of 3300 trees! Despite the occasional frost and the, not so occasional, torrential rain our groups put their all into making sure each tree gets the best start and will be there in years to come.

3,000 planted trees

(Photo Credit: Oscar Adams)

We were joined by wide variety of community groups and schools from Bristol, Gloucester, Cirencester to Chippenham and the surrounding areas. These included groups working with adults with learning difficulties, youth climate groups, mental health and wellbeing groups and many more besides. After a walk through Silk Wood the participants arrived at the planting site raring to restore the woodland. They got to work planting one of our 20 species of trees and then installing the tree tube to protect them. For many of our participants this was the first time they had visited Westonbirt and was often the first time they had planted a tree.

Children planting trees

(Photo Credit: Alison Whaley)

As well as planting trees groups got the chance to learn new skills such as tree bud identification, tool use, the impact of tree diseases. Team work was a skill particularly well demonstrated by the students from Cam Everlands school where the older students in year 6 worked in teams looking after their year 1 school mates. We also had a chance to carry out other activities with the groups such as woodland scavenger hunt and mindfulness moments. The benefits of a day outside doing something positive for nature were clearly felt by lots of participants, one of them saying ‘We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and genuinely came away feeling glowing and that we had done something positive for this planet!’

Children planting trees

(Photo Credit: Alison Whaley)

Though the planting is finished for now, the Community Woodland is still a busy place with groups coming back to care for their trees. The next step will be laying mulch and maintaining the tree guards. We will continue maintenance work and begin monitoring the floral and faunal inhabitants of the woodland throughout the summer until we begin planting again in November.

Find out more about this project