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Flagship Wood for The Queen's Jubilee to be in The National Forest

Wednesday, 14th September 2011

The National Forest Company is delighted that The National Forest has been chosen as the site of a vast 460-acre publicly-accessible woodland as a national symbol to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

National charity the Woodland Trust has been searching for the ‘crowning jewel’ in its biggest tree-planting campaign ever, Jubilee Woods, which will commemorate The Queen’s Jubilee by planting 6 million trees to create hundreds of new woods UK wide.

Located at the heart of England, The National Forest is within easy access of 10 million people, making the new woodland perfect for the Woodland Trust’s ambition to create a natural historic monument for the nation, give people access to the wonders of woodland and enable wildlife to thrive.

The flagship Diamond Jubilee Wood will be the largest continuous block of woodland owned by a single organisation in The National Forest. The National Forest Company has made a substantial contribution of land towards the new woodland and a number of landowners have worked together with the Woodland Trust to enable this to happen.

Catherine Graham-Harrison OBE, Chair, National Forest Company, said: ‘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.’

The site brings together former opencast reclaimed land, patches of ancient woodland, arable fields and a newly created lake on the opencast site. The new woodland will attract a wide variety of species of wildlife: skylarks in the open spaces, and it should be ideal habitat for the threatened lesser spotted woodpecker, one of The National Forest’s listed biodiversity action species.

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive, National Forest Company, said: ‘The progress of The National Forest’s creation has been quite phenomenal. We have planted 7.8 million trees so far, and have more than trebled the woodland cover throughout the Forest’s 200 square miles from 6% to 18.4%.

‘We have achieved this through steadfast and enthusiastic support from partners, private and public, local communities and individuals. The Forest is much loved by local people and there are already well used and popular woodlands and attractions in the wider area around the new flagship woodland: Sence Valley Country Park in particular is a fine example of thriving woodland and lakes created out of a former opencast site and lovingly looked after by local volunteers and the Forestry Commission.

‘We now welcome this national flagship woodland which will sit so well in the Forest and be looked after to the highest possible standards by the Woodland Trust: truly a jewel in the crown of The National Forest.’

The Woodland Trust has launched a major campaign to raise funds for the site.

Sue Holden, Chief Executive of the Woodland Trust, said:  ‘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. 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 in the UK. We need the help of people to make this happen whether it is through tree planting, giving time or through fundraising.’