Tree planting – Butcombe 2016

A new project for early 2016 – planting trees in a five acre field near Butcombe (12 miles to the South of central Bristol).
Over 4 months we’ll be planting about 3500 native broadleaved trees (including about 200m of hedgerow) to transform a grassy farmers field into a new 5-acre woodland. We’ll be there one or two days almost every weekend this winter.
This project will rely on volunteers to help with the planting . We’ll try to make it an enjoyable sociable experience (and we’ll postpone if the weather’s too wet – nobody wants to plant trees in the pouring rain!)

Last year’s tree planting success was so much fun that I want to do it again this year (on a smaller scale). I’m hoping to be joined again by lots of keen volunteers and together we’ll create another new woodland. Get in touch if you want to join in. I’ll be there at least one day most weekends (unless it’s raining).

This is the second and final woodland that I’m planning – I hope you’ll join me to plant it up to Easter.

This is how the field looked a few years ago, it's grassy now.
This is how the field looked a few years ago, it’s grassy now.

A few differences compared to last year’s tree planting at Upton Cheyney:

  • Fewer trees to plant (2075 compared to almost 4000 at Upton Cheyney)
  • The Butcombe field has it’s own road entrance – it’s not advisable to park in the field but the road entrance has a lay-by with space for about 5 cars
  • It feels more rural, the field is bordered by agricultural land
  • The grass was mown in September 2015 so we’ll be planting into short grass
  • A footpath from the bottom of the field leads directly to Blagdon Lake (200m)
  • Trees, materials and equipment will be stored off-site so I’ll be bringing them with me each day
  • I should have the trees in time to start planting in late November this year, and this year we know what we’re doing (last time we made a slow start in mid January and had to figure out what to do and what tools were needed over the first few weeks)

And a few similarities:

  • A beautiful sunny south-facing grassy field with a gentle slope down to a stream and a bordering woodland (but no existing woodland in the field this time)
  • Mature hedges all around, abundant wildlife including badgers and deer
  • We’ll be planting “whips” (young trees about 50 cm high) using the same notch planting technique as last year – so no digging required
  • The trees are all native broadleaves
  • We’ll use a combination of tree guards and spiral guards to protect the trees from damage
  • The whole thing will happen – I hope – with the help of lots of willing volunteers
  • Tree planting must be finished by the end of March at the latest (trees are coming out of dormancy by then) – I’ll come up with a list of dates but always subject to cancellation if the weather’s bad

The trees and shrubs to be planted (subject to final confirmation):

Alder 250
Aspen 125
Beech 50
Blackthorn 75
Crab Apple 75
Dog Rose 50
Dogwood 50
Field Maple 150
Hawthorn 125
Hazel 200
Holly 50
Hornbeam 125
Pedunculate Oak 350
Rowan 50
Silver Birch 100
Small Leaved Lime 125
Spindle 25
Sweet Chestnut 50
Wild Cherry 50
TOTAL 2075

[UPDATE: the above are from the Woodland Trust, I also have a lot of trees from OVO Energy’s I Dig Trees scheme, bringing the total to around 3500. The OVO trees are mostly more of the same varieties, and a couple of extra varieties including Wayfaring Tree and Guelder Rose]

These native trees have been selected to provide maximum support for wildlife. Thanks to The Woodland Trust who have again been immensely helpful in planning and stocking the woods.

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