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Wickhambrook new woodland for National Tree Week

National Tree Week in Suffolk got off to a grand start on 24 November with a project to plant 5,000 trees at Peacocks Farm, Wickhambrook,
 south of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. The farm is managed by Greg Harrison who runs an organic box scheme and is beginning an agroforestry project.

Fitting tree guard

Greg has obtained a More Woods grant from the Woodland Trust for more than 5,000 trees. He is planting trees in three areas one of which has a section that is badly drained. Here there will be mainly willow which will soak up excess water and provide much needed wildlife habitat. Elsewhere will be mixed woodland and a shelter belt. Two of these areas will be surrounded by a mixed hedgerow. The shelter belt will provide protection for a large area designated for an agroforestry project.

The Suffolk Tree Warden Network became involved in the spring when Greg contacted their coordinator Frances Jannaway, to ask if there was a Tree Warden in Wickhambrook. ‘He described his project to me with enthusiasm and I saw this as a great opportunity to celebrate partnership working between The Tree Council, Suffolk Tree Warden Network, The Woodland Trust and Suffolk County Council’, said Frances. She then contacted the Tree Council and the Woodland Trust and they both became involved meeting at Wickhambrook to discuss how they could cooperate.

Suffolk Tree Wardens chose, Peacocks Farm as the place to celebrate the start of National Tree Week in Suffolk. The 24th November also coincided with the first anniversary of the Charter for Trees and People and the centenary of the end of WWI. There was a two minutes silence at 11am followed by a talk by Greg about his thoughts and vision for tree planting.

Getting Started

Greg had already prepared the land and marked out where the young trees were to be planted.

Jon Stokes, Programmes Director of the Tree Council, launched the day with a demonstration of how to plant bare root trees using the slot method. Also present and planting lots of trees were, Geraldine Creaven (Tree Council), Edwin Van Ek (Woodland Trust) and Paul Woodgate (Woodland Trust). Paul is a former forester who planted trees in a very efficient manner which Frances Jannaway described as ‘poetry in motion’. Also involved were Gary Battell (Suffolk County Council) who recorded video interviews and took photos and Frances Jannaway who planned and coordinated the day with Greg and provided soup, bread & cheese for lunch followed by cakes provided by Dorothy from the local WI.

Greg driving in a stake

In all, over 20 people planted about 800 young trees including stakes and guards. Volunteer planters included Tree Wardens from around Suffolk: Roger Worboys (Somerton), Alistair Graham Kerr (Beccles), Perry Penn, (Hepworth), Angela McLoughlin (Needham Market), Richard Jannaway (Thornham Magna), Paul Sutton (Wetherden) and several potential new Tree Wardens from Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Lidgate. There were also a number of local people including a thirteen year old girl and her father and several families with children. Many stayed all day from 9am to 4pm!

Greg still had to plant the shelter belt and the two areas of hedgerow –…………. Over the course of the winter, the young trees will be mulched with chippings supplied by a local tree surgeon friend to prevent competition from grasses.

Greg is now working in his local area with schools and the community to arrange more tree plantings. He will be assisted by STWN.

For other planting projects in Suffolk during National Tree Week see our news pages.

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