IYOF5: The National Forest

As 2011 is officially International Year of Forests, this is the next in a series of articles.

The National Forest is a landscape project just south of Derbyshire, which aims to create areas of woodland throughout the area, increasing the number of trees and available forests.  Thus far there are about 8 million trees in the 200 square mile site as a whole.  85% of the trees which are planted there are native broadleaf, such as oak, ash, birch, poplar, cherry and hawthorn.  Yesterday Tiro and I got to go and plant a tree there, which had been gifted to us at our handfasting.  When we arrived and walked down to the planting site, we choose to plant an ash tree, and spent the next little while digging a hole, putting the new tree in and getting our hands dirty putting the soil back in.  Somehow it was incredibly satisfying , the simple act of planting, and to be surrounded on one side by members of a military unit digging their hole with an entrenching tool, and on the other a whole family right down to little ones wrapped up like little coloured starfish against the cold, who were planting in remembrance, made us realise that a celebration of marriage was not the only act which could inspire a tree planting.

Whole swathes of the site are covered with plastic protective growing tubes, as previous trees get solidly underway and start creating a new national forest.

the national forest 1

the national forest 1

the national forest 2

the national forest 2

Afterwards in a suitably thought provoking mood, we walked around the nearby Conkers site, seeing this years cygnets almost full grown, snowberries and hawthorn in full autumn flow and a pair of squirrels eating the plentiful berries:

cygnet

cygnet

.

snowberries

snowberries

.

two grey squirrels

two grey squirrels

Aside from the tree planting, my favourite part has to be catching a squirrel with a red nose… very rare creatures red-nosed grey squirrels 😉

red nose squirrel

red nose squirrel

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