July 29, 2008

Can See the Wood for the Trees

England's largest new native forest is to be created with the planting of 600,000 trees.

The pounds 8.5 million project covering 850 acres in Hertfordshire will be bigger than Sherwood Forest.

The Woodland Trust said the scheme would be open to the public and provide health, education and leisure benefits, as well as habitat for wildlife, within 20 miles of London.

The trust aims to create the largest continuous new broadleaf woodland on land it is planning to buy near the village of Sandridge, between St Albans and Harpenden.

The vision for the land, which is currently farmland with pockets of ancient woodland, includes involving communities and children in helping plant the trees. The first trees may be planted as early as this winter, the Woodland Trust's chief executive Sue Holden said.

Once planting begins, the forest will establish itself very quickly, so that within two years a tree would be twice the size of the child who planted it, she said.

It will provide public woodland space close to London which will be twice the size of Regent's Park and bigger than Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens combined.

"Our plans for the new forest at Sandridge are truly historic in scale and offer an unmissable opportunity to plant such a huge number of trees and benefit so many people," Ms Holden said.

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