Suffolk’s Green Canopy sees 500,000 trees and hedges planted
06:00 21 April 2022
An ambitious plan to plant a tree for every Suffolk resident to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee has hit the 500,000 milestone.
The Queen’s Green Canopy project is part of the Festival of Suffolk, a series of events marking the Jubilee. It ultimately aims to see more than 760,000 trees and hedges planted in the county.
And he’s already seen a huge response, with the latest details of Suffolk’s success released on the Queen’s 96th birthday.
A total of 348,000 trees were planted and 39.8 km of hedgerows – totaling 547,000 dendrological plants (woody shrubs and trees), 70% of the target.
Diana Hunt, Suffolk Second Lieutenant and spokesperson for the Canopy Project, said: “So many wonderful people and organizations are getting involved.
“There are four Healing Woods planned, including Hopton, in West Suffolk, where they want to establish a community wood on a former landfill, on a central village site with good pedestrian links. Combs, Little Finborough and the Eye Woodland and Wildflower project will also connect the existing Eye Town Moors Woodland to green corridors in the heart of Eye.
Tim Holder, communications manager for the Festival of Suffolk and public affairs manager at the Suffolk Community Foundation, said: “This truly inclusive project is already delivering such an important set of benefits for the people of Suffolk.”
It is believed that around 85% of the planting has already taken place, with the rest to be planted in the next season.
Who supported the project?
Individuals, parishes, community groups, landowners, farmers, schools, churches, businesses and councils got involved. Suffolk County Council has planted 12 miles of hedges with one tree every 50 yards, while Deben Travel is offsetting its carbon footprint by planting trees in Jubilee Wood in Holbrook. In Trinity Park, the Suffolk Agricultural Association has planted a Jubilee Avenue of trees.
A key element of the success so far is due to the expansion and dedication of the Suffolk Tree Warden Network.
They operate a network of tree nurseries and, together with the Woodland Trust, distribute thousands of free trees to farmers and landowners each year.
David Appleton, tree keeper for Wortham and Burgate, said: “We will be providing thousands more this autumn and hope Suffolk can exceed its target of one tree for every resident.”
Suffolk County Council’s Healing Woods Project has worked with partners such as the Green Light Trust and the Woodland Trust to create and improve the forest to positively impact the mental health of residents.
CEO Tom Brown, Green Light Trust, said: “So many people have said the pandemic has made them realize that time in the woods has really helped their wellbeing and mental health.
“We must not take our woodlands and natural forests for granted; planting and conserving them is essential not only for the survival of our planet, but also to help people at a time of dramatically deteriorating mental health.”
Suffolk Libraries has launched its own initiative, developing knowledge of the environment and the benefits of trees among children and young people.
And in Ipswich there is a three-year project to create a footpath called ‘Greener Ipswich’ which will run from the Ipswich seafront to Christchurch Park.
How you can get involved
Planting of trees and hedges will continue into the fall, with organizers stressing that this is not a one-year project – and the importance of caring for newly planted trees and trees that we already have.
The project plans to register plantations/conservations for five years – the last two and the next three – and pledges to maintain existing forests and rewild new areas.
It’s important to start identifying sites, confirming permissions, and ordering hedges and trees, so local nurseries can get your stock ready.
Organizers believe there are many other projects underway, including major projects, not listed on the national website – queensgreencanopy.org.
You can also set up a county level newspaper by emailing [email protected]
Anyone wishing to get involved should first go to the Lieutenancy website – suffolk-lieutenancy.org.uk/queens-green-canopy/