Monthly Archives: January 2016

Update on our recent work

This is a quick summary of some of the recent activity of the Forest of Avon Trust.  Please click on the links for further detail of what is listed here.

The image shows tree planting at Tranmere Avenue, Brentry as part of Bristol City Council’s 1 Tree per Child project.

  1. Setting up our 2016 programme of accredited Forest School and related training;
  2. Securing agreement for and starting to deliver Bristol’s Dose of Nature pilot project working with local GP practices, Public Health Bristol and other partners to prescribe woodland activities for people with mental health needs;
  3. Producing a detailed costed proposal for Carrs Woodland Bath, for the Great Western Mainline biodiversity offsetting proposal;
  4. Promoting and supporting applications for Woodland Management Plans for a further 3 woodlands;
  5. Delivering 2 school’s mini-orchards in South Gloucestershire with more planned in this authority, North Somerset and Bath & NE Somerset; part funded by Western Power Distribution;
  6. Supporting the Friends of the Community Forest Path in their re-signage of the route;
  7. Delivering the King George’s Road Garden Forest scheme (free fruit trees for front gardens) in Bristol to enhance the streetscape;
  8. Securing sponsorship further from Pukka Herbs to fund management plans for two small woodlands in the area and also from long- standing sponsors, Whitehall Printing; and
  9. Producing Woodland Management Plans for 2 private woodlands in South Gloucestershire. If you know of owners with woodlands over 3ha who might be interested please let Jon Clark know:


Posted in: Latest News | Tagged |

Some positive news about Ash Dieback

An article in last week’s Telegraph reported some potentially good news about ash dieback.  The article, based on a paper in Scientific Reports, said that researchers at York, and the John Innes Centre, have found genetic markers which can be used to predict trees that are resistant to the disease, and which, therefore, might be planted to replace lost woodland.

This is what the paper’s abstract says:

Tree disease epidemics are a global problem, impacting food security, biodiversity and national economies.  The potential for conservation and breeding in trees is hampered by complex genomes and long lifecycles, with most species lacking genomic resources.  The European Ash tree Fraxinus excelsior is being devastated by the fungal pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, which causes ash dieback disease.  Taking this system as an example and utilizing Associative Transcriptomics for the first time in a plant pathology study, we discovered gene sequence and gene expression variants across a genetic diversity panel scored for disease symptoms and identified markers strongly associated with canopy damage in infected trees.  Using these markers we predicted phenotypes in a test panel of unrelated trees, successfully identifying individuals with a low level of susceptibility to the disease.  Co-expression analysis suggested that pre-priming of defence responses may underlie reduced susceptibility to ash dieback.

We welcome this research.  Here’s what the Forest of Avon had to say about Ash Dieback when it first emerged as a problem.

Posted in: Latest News, Safeguarding our Trees | Tagged |

Grants for Rural Action Now Available

The West of England LEADER Fund is now open for Grant Applications

The new West of England LEADER programme is now open for applications for grants from rural businesses and communities across North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset.

Eligible businesses and communities can apply for grants for capital projects to help support their growth and sustainability.  Applications for investments from £10,000 up to £100,000 can now be made.

The LEADER programme is primarily designed to promote business growth and stimulate job creation.  The programme is focused on rural areas and its priorities are supporting micro and small rural businesses, farm diversification projects, forestry projects, tourism projects, rural services and cultural and heritage projects.

The Forest of Avon Trust is really pleased to be part of the Local Action Group for Leader. For more information on the grants available, please click here.


Posted in: Latest News, Woodland Management |

National Forest update

The National Forest now covers 200 square miles across 3 counties, with 17 Forestry Commission woodlands within it; 3 of these are existing woodlands, and 14 are newly planted sites.


The National Forest covers parts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire and it aims to link the two ancient Forests of Charnwood on its eastern fringe with Needwood Forest to its west.  You can find out about its history here, and there is more detail on what it’s setting out to do here.  There is, of course, lots to see and do.  You can download a National Forest Explore leaflet for a detailed map of all the main forests and their features.

The Forest of Avon Trust is obviously a keen supporter of the further development of the national forest, but hopes that not too many people will make a special trip just to see it.  There are, after all, many woodlands within easy reach of home where you can enjoy and appreciate the special experience of being amongst trees and all the wildlife they nurture.


Posted in: Latest News |

Forest Live 2016


The 2016 line-up for the Forestry Commission’s long-running Forest Live music events is taking shape.  In 2016, Forest Live will be taking place in: Bedgebury Pinetum, Cannock Chase Forest, Dalby Forest, Delamere Forest, Sherwood Pines Forest, Thetford Forest, and, more locally, in Westonbirt Arboretum.

Forest Live concerts began in 2001 at four Forestry Commission venues, and are now are well known for their artists, atmosphere and locations.  You can see all the 2016 locations here, and the tour dates are here.  The 2016 line up includes:

John Newman
Guy Garvey
Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott
Simply Red

It was announced last week that the band playing at Westonbirt on June 16th is going to be Rudimental.  Tickets cost £37.50, plus a £4.25 booking fee, and are available from the Forestry Commission on: 03000 680400 – or:

Will we see you at Westonbirt?  If, however, you think that loud music and forests don’t go well together, happily there are lot of other places to visit in the Forest of Avon where a more tranquil experience is to be had.  Maybe we shall see you there.

Posted in: Latest News |

Get a Woodland Management Plan for Free

A new range of woodland grants are available under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. These provide funding for a five- year programme of work to improve woodland and also capital payments for specific improvement work.

To apply for these grants you now need a current Forestry Commission woodland management plan and the Forest of Avon Trust can produce this for you for free.    

The Forest of Avon Trust has produced approved woodland management plans for 750 ha of woodlands locally. We can produce a plan for you for free if you have woodland 3ha or larger and you allow us to claim a Woodland Planning Grant from the Forestry Commission.

Interested? Then please contact Executive Director: Jon Clark on: or (0117) 963 3383 for a without obligation discussion about the options and the grant payments you could receive to help you manage your woodland.

Details of the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme are available at:

Posted in: Latest News, Our Projects, Safeguarding our Trees, Woodland Management | Tagged |

News from the FEN

The Forest Education Network [FEN] was set up in 2012, as the successor to the Forest Education Initiative.

FEN seeks to support education that takes place in forest and woodland settings, and promotes networking and the sharing of good practice amongst all who do this.  It also aims to facilitate communication between the sectors and practitioners involved.

As a free networking organisation, FEN tries to provide an information, signposting and support service for members that are themselves directly involved with providing or promoting forest education opportunities – just as the Forest of Avon does.

Two recent stories featured by FEN are:

FEN is hosted by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) and covers activities and networks in England.  For Scotland, click here, and for Wales, here to access the equivalent organisations.  There is also a diverse and active GB-wide FEI Facebook group.  You can access FEN Members Bulletin No. 12 (December 2015) here.

Posted in: Outdoor Learning |

The Woodland Trust needs your Christmas cards

TV presenter Julia Bradbury is backing the Woodland Trust through the M&S Christmas Card recycling scheme to help plant thousands of trees across the UK.  For every 1,000 cards dropped in to M&S stores for recycling throughout January, the retailer will fund the Trust to plant a tree.

Alexis Steadman, Plan A Community Relations Manager at M&S, said:

“By simply popping into your local M&S and dropping your cards into the collection boxes, customers can help the Woodland Trust to turn unwanted waste into much needed trees and preserve the UK’s wildlife habitats.  We and M&S have set an ambitious target to collect and recycle more than 6 million Christmas cards so we can plant 6,000 trees.”

This scheme is now in its fifth year, and the UK is 32,000 trees richer thanks to the public’s efforts in dropping cards in to a store each January, rather than putting them into recycling bins.

Last year 6,255,833 cards were collected and recycled resulting in 6,256 trees being planted throughout the UK.

You’ll find card collection bins in M&S stores until 31 January 2016.

The Forest of Avon Trust fully supports this scheme, and we hope that you will all contribute to it.

Posted in: Latest News |