Helping hands for Heartwood Forest, Sandridge
As Heartwood Forest in Sandridge reaches its halfway point, Ann Favell, a volunteer with the Woodland Trust, explains how the work is going and why it's YOUR forest
PICTURE a landscape with tall luscious green leaved trees then imagine the sun shining through the branches, a gentle breeze across your face and the sound of a woodpecker drumming on a tree in the distance. The forest that surrounds you is alive with nature and a thriving network of plants, insects, mammals and birds are all living harmoniously together…
Now rewind 30 years to today and you have the beginnings of this enchanting forest, of Heartwood Forest, that is currently being planted in fields just outside of Sandridge.
This epic project, creating 858 acres of new forest by the Woodland Trust, has now reached its pivotal halfway point. Over 300,000 trees have been planted. This is a magnificent achievement and one worth celebrating because it is the people of Hertfordshire that have planted these trees.
Thanks to these people, who have volunteered their time, effort and energy to help out, fields around Sandridge now brim with optimism and the promise of new life. It was back in 2007 that the Woodland Trust had this ambitious idea that they wanted to make a reality. To plant a brand new forest that would be within travelling distance for a large proportion of the population and would seek to highlight the importance and potential of new forest creation. The fields around Sandridge, sandwiched between Hertfordshire and North London, were ideal. The site was acquired by the Trust in the summer of 2008 and the rest is history.
It’s your forest
The forest has been embraced by the people of Hertfordshire. In the last planting season alone, over 9,000 people from local communities, schools and businesses took part in tree planting events.
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An industrious local volunteer group for Heartwood Forest has been instrumental in raising awareness of the good work going on at the forest since work began. They have distributed thousands of appeal leaflets, given talks to over 45 groups in the last year alone, raised funds and recruited other volunteers to benefit the Heartwood Forest site.
The group has also supported successful community events throughout the year to help raise awareness of work going on at the site. On top of all this local residents have also raised an impressive �100,000 towards the project costs.
One volunteer, Linda, 63, from nearby Welwyn Garden City, says, ‘I help out with fixed point photography, hedge surveys, community events, promotion talks and tree planting party work. I choose to give my time because the work at Heartwood will preserve the ecological environment provided by native British forest. Volunteering to help this forest gives me fresh air, exercise and good companionship with likeminded people…in other words, all of the things that make life worth living’.
The Woodland Trust is now looking forward to embarking on the next stage of Heartwood’s journey and is inviting even more people from across Hertfordshire to join them on the adventure.
Find out more
If you would like to connect with nature on a grand scale at Heartwood Forest either to visit and experience it or get involved with the work at Heartwood, the site is free to visit and open all year round. You can find out more at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/heartwood, email email@example.com or follow the forest blog for the most up to date news and events at www.heartwoodforest.wordpress.com