From a bare field in January to a new growing woodland in April boasting 7,500 trees and a wildflower meadow, we reflect on four amazing months of activity with our new Forest Friends.
To the south of the Sylva Wood Centre lay a small arable field. It was too small to manage efficiently with modern farm machinery and was a relatively sterile landscape with no public access. With our passion for trees it shouted out to be planted! As we write, the first trees are coming into leaf and the wildflowers are peeping up between the grasses, and a network of paths have been created through the woodland. None of this would have been possible without help from our funders, volunteers, donors and of course all our new Forest Friends
With support from four main funders we were able to turn our vision for a demonstration ‘Future Forest’ into reality. We are very grateful to:
- Woodland Trust
- Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE2) with funding from Grundon Waste Management
- D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust
- Finnis Scott Foundation
The forest was divided into more than 250 plots of 25 trees, each of which was made available to sponsor by our new Forest Friends. Most of these were individuals and families who wanted to make a difference to the environment and create a lasting legacy to be passed down through generations.
Some plots were sponsored by corporate partners and we were very grateful for support from Forest Holidays, Grown in Britain, Kubota UK, North Oxford Property Services, and Rokesmith.
Thanks to additional support from TESCO and the Ernest Cook Trust we were able to dedicate an area of the Future Forest especially for schools. We invited more 700 primary school children, plus young adults from local youth groups, to each plant a tree. The funding enabled us to build a shelter and fire pit, erect a fence to exclude dogs, and pay a subsidy to help the schools recover transport costs.
We look forward to working with all our new Forest Friends to care for the Future Forest over the years to come.