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The National Forest celebrates planting its 9 millionth tree

We’re delighted to announce that following this year’s planting season the National Forest has reached an amazing 9 million trees!

12 Mar 2021

It’s taken a lot of work and a lot of commitment from many dedicated people who have helped us transform these 200-square miles, from a place with very few trees in the early 1990s to a growing forest today. 

We would like to thank the landowners, farmers, businesses, schools and individuals who have supported and helped us achieve this milestone figure. We couldn’t have done it without you. In more normal times, we would have welcomed Forestry Minister, Zac Goldsmith, to plant this tree, but as the country’s still in lockdown, we had to think of a creative way for our landmark tree to be planted.     

We’ve brought in our newest ambassador for the National Forest to plant the milestone tree: Shaun the Sheep.  In a specially created video, the nation’s favourite outdoors character plants the National Forest’s 9 millionth tree in a woodland near Mossy Bottom Farm. 

The popular Aardman character is the perfect ambassador for woodlands and the countryside. Having lived on the farm his entire life Shaun has had many encounters with the flora and fauna around him and has become an expert on the way. 

Minister Zac Goldsmith sent his congratulations from his lockdown home and confirmed the exciting news that the National Forest will be receiving extra funding to help increase tree planting.   

He said: “At a time of such urgency for our climate and environment, this is a welcome and  impressive achievement. Trees have brought transformation, not only for this post-industrial Midlands landscape, but in reconnecting habitats for wildlife, supporting outdoor learning and community wellbeing, and creating new jobs in tourism and woodland industries.  

“I am pleased to announce an extra £2.26m from the government’s Nature for Climate Fund which will enable the National Forest to double its tree planting aspirations for this year, bringing all the benefits of trees to even more people.” 

As part of a special live announcement on social media, the Minister recorded a video message to highlight the achievement and to introduce Shaun the Sheep who went on to plant the milestone tree.

Dr Ian Duncan, Chair of the National Forest Company, said: “We are incredibly proud to be planting our 9 millionth tree. It is a major achievement in our ongoing work to create the National Forest, and we are extremely grateful to all our farmers, landowners, businesses, schools, local authorities and countless individuals, who have helped us transform the National Forest landscape, demonstrating how nature, society and the economy can work together.  

“But we have many more trees to plant, continuing the work of creating the Forest and helping to address the challenges of a changing climate. So we very much welcome the announcement of additional funding through the Nature for Climate Fund which will allow us to double our aspirations for tree planting and accelerate progress towards 10 million trees.” 

We’re keen to hear from all farmers and landowners in the National Forest who are interested in contributing towards the creation of the Forest by planting new woodlands through our grant schemes. You can also help to grow the Forest and help us to reach our next target of 10 million trees by dedicating a tree in memory or as a gift, to benefit people and wildlife for years to come. 

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