Monthly Archives: June 2017

Woodland Incentives: Please Complete Our 5 Minute Questionnaire

Please take 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire to help us improve the range of advice and incentives we can offer woodland owners, managers and those interested in new planting. Just double click here to download to your computer: Woodland Questionnaire.

Every completed questionnaire received will be numbered in order and then entered in to a draw for a free fruit tree (worth £40); alternatively, we will donate 20 free trees to a local school. Deadline 1200 31st July 2017.

Please email to (or send by post) and don’t forget to include an email address and phone number.

Posted in: Future Woods, Latest News, Woodland Management | Tagged , |

The vast, wooded shadow of London

Back in May, the Spectator books section carried a review of Strange Labyrinth: Outlaws, Poets, Mystics, Murderers and a Coward in London’s Great Forest by Will Ashon.  The forest in question is Epping Forest, that ‘vast shadow of London.  The reviewer, Kieron Pim, says that the book is:

“part-history, part-memoir, … a fine cultural guide to the vast, wooded ‘shadow of London’”.

Pim adds:

“The result is a book that’s hard to classify. First impressions might place it within the ‘new nature writing’, but it is more a cultural than a natural history, and one with remarkable scope, unconstrained by boundaries of genre or style. Which, we come to realise, is precisely the point. This is a book about enclosure, in its every sense, from the land enclosures that tormented the poet John Clare, who spent years in an asylum here, to the psychic enclosures that preoccupy Penny Rimbaud of the punk band Crass. Rimbaud lives by the forest in the evocatively described Dial House and emerges as one of the book’s most interesting characters.”

The publisher says:

In litter-strewn Epping Forest on the edge of London, might a writer find that magical moment of transcendence? He will certainly discover filthy graffiti and frightening dogs, as well as world-renowned artists and fading celebrities, robbers, lovers, ghosts and poets. But will he find himself? Or a version of himself he might learn something from?”





Posted in: Latest News |

Professor Alice Roberts

Trust Patron: Professor Alice Roberts talks about the importance of woodlands, the Forest of Avon Trust and a major new research project launched this week:

I’m passionate about the importance of woodlands – and that importance ranges from the global and economic to the deeply personal and psychological. Forests form a critical component of global ecosystems – and are crucially important for humanity. They support a huge range of life – home to half of all known species; they play crucial roles in carbon and water cycles; they provide us with building materials and fuel; and as we walk through them, they fill us with a sense of calm and wellbeing.

 It’s hard to believe it, but the UK has the lowest woodland cover of any European country. After millennia of deforestation – which started thousands of years ago, in the Neolithic, as farmers cleared woodland to make way for crops and livestock – there’s now a pressing to re-forest. Visions of a sustainable UK include much larger areas of managed woodland. The mission of the Forest of Avon Trust includes protecting trees and woodland, planting more, and helping people to enjoy these wonderful natural spaces.

The University of Birmingham is committed to forest research, which will inform how we sustain and nurture our woodlands as the climate changes. We’ve just launched a multi-million pound open-air experiment aimed at understanding how woodlands will respond to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere this century. You can read more about the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research here. ’

Find out more about the Forest of Avon Trust’s wide- ranging work in Bristol & Avon here and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date on the latest tree & woodland news.

Posted in: Business Sponsors, Forest of Avon, Future Woods, Latest News, Our Projects, Outdoor Learning, Professor Alice Roberts, Safeguarding our Trees, Woodland Management, Woodland Wellbeing | Tagged , , , , , |

A year in the life of a silver birch

The Woodland Trust website contains useful information on many native trees.  For example, if you click here, you’ll find the silver birch, Betulla pendular.  On this page there’s also a brief video of a year in the life of the tree.

The Trust’s ‘interesting fact’ about this tree is:

“The silver birch can be used to improve soil quality for other plants to grow.  Its deep roots bring otherwise inaccessible nutrients into the tree, which are recycled on to the soil surface when the tree sheds its leaves.”

Posted in: Latest News |

Monuments to city life

An article in the Guardian recently by Ian Jack was a tribute to the role that trees play in cities – actually the London Plane.  It’s long and detailed, informative and inspiring, and worth 5 minutes of your time. It ends like this:

“Street trees do all kinds of practical good that couldn’t have been foreseen when they were first planted: carbon sequestration, water runoff absorption and so forth.  But beauty remains the real reason for their being.  In total, they cost the London boroughs between £40m and £45m a year, having somehow endured, in Wood’s phrase, as “one of the last locally defined areas of civic life”.  In all their glorious variety, they stand as a living monument to the municipal instinct, cheap at the price.”

The article draws on Paul Wood’s new guidebook, London’s Street Trees: A Field Guide to the Urban Forest.  This is what The Hive has to say about it:

“Most people would assume that the trees along the capital’s streets are London planes.  That’s what street trees are? In fact, the magnificently green streets of London are in no way a monoculture – these days over 300 different species and cultivars grace its streets, from giant redwoods in Edgware to Olive trees and a Magnolia outside the Cheesgrater.  Every London borough is different. There are indeed Plane trees that go back to the building of the Embankment in the nineteenth century – but also new species around the capital that wonderfully reflect its modern multicultural vibrancy.  Do you know why there are Australian silver wattle and bottlebrush trees in the streets of Pimlico? Or which London street trees were painted by Monet? But until now there has been no book on this remarkable phenomenon.  Paul Wood’s endlessly fascinating guide is sure to attract widespread media attention, and become a fixture in all the London sections of bookshops as well as the gift shops of all London tourist attractions. Published to coincide with London Tree Week 2017 – and, of course, the trees along our streets coming gloriously into leaf again – it will make everyone in London look at their own street in a new way.”

Posted in: Latest News |

Tree Map – but only for London

Here’s a map c/o the Mayor of London of the trees in London.  Something for the mayors of Bristol to copy, perhaps.

You’ll find details here on how the data were compiled and the level of detail provided.  It’s an impressive outcome – and resource.

Posted in: Latest News |

The Street Tree

The Street Tree is a blog by Paul Wood, a trustee of London Wildlife Trust.  Paul says he’s been interested in plants since he was 13 when a Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) appeared in his back garden.  He adds: “Everywhere I go I find myself making mental notes about what’s growing and what might be growing, so this blog is my musings on nature, plants, landscapes and the environment.”

Here are some of his latest posts:


Posted in: Latest News |

Climate Reality

The Climate Reality project had a recent feature on how climate change is affecting forest fires.  This begins:

“Increases in average annual temperatures create conditions that dramatically elevate the risk and severity of forest fires.  When we talk about the many effects of the climate crisis, a few tend to take center stage.  We can easily understand why the Atlantic Ocean lapping down the streets of Miami is a problem.  We can see retreating glaciers and bone-dry fields where crops used to flourish with our own eyes.  We feel the pain of coastal cities ravaged by stronger and stronger hurricanes.  But we also shouldn’t overlook the myriad of other – sometimes less obvious – ways that climate change is disrupting natural systems.  The slow drying out of a Western forest and beetles marching one-by-one into the trees may not inspire a telethon, but over time they can devastate ecosystems and landscapes and set the stage for destructive forest fires that reduce entire communities to ash.

Although this is a Washington-based organisation, it is discussing global issues.  You can read their mission here.


Posted in: Latest News |

Street Lights and Tree Growth

Last week’s newspapers carried stories of the effect that streetlights are having on trees.  For example, The Times report began:

Streetlights are destroying urban trees which, like humans, need to sleep at night, according to a forester who has revolutionised thinking on the subject.  Peter Wohlleben, who coined the term “wood-wide web” to explain how families of trees communicate with and support each other, said evidence was beginning to show that light pollution harms urban trees.  Mr Wohlleben said that councils should switch off street lights at night to help urban trees to survive longer, as well as to save electricity.  He said that street trees were like orphans, having to grow without the support system of those in forests.  “They also have to sleep at night,” he told the Hay Festival.  “Research shows that trees near street lights die earlier. Like burning a lamp in your bedroom at night, it is not good for you.”

This is what Venerable Trees, a group in the USA dedicated to the preservation of ancient trees in the Bluegrass and Nashville Basin, has to say:

“Urban trees live with all kinds of stresses that their forest cousins do not – road salt, soil compaction, lawn mower strikes.  They also live in a different light environment, one in which it is never completely dark.  Spend the night deep in the woods and the only light you will see is from the stars and moon. This is what trees experience – bright light in the day, complete dark at night.  Trees evolved with a regular, predictable transition from day to night. They have developed exquisitely sensitive ways of measuring light so that they know the exact day length.  They also measure shadows so they know the distance to other trees.  Pollinators of trees like moths and bats also depend on the dark of the night.  What happens when we suddenly (in evolutionary time) add bright lights to our cities and plant trees?  The use of gas lanterns for lighting streets began around 1816 and spread to cities throughout the world. People soon noticed trees doing very strange things near these lights – losing leaves in midsummer, or growing strange branches, or roots growing on stems.  Many trees died. Observers soon realized that it wasn’t the light but the illumination gas causing these effects.  Dimitry Neljubow, a graduate student in Russia, realized that illumination gas was causing abnormal growth and in 1901 published the discovery that ethylene, a component of illumination gas, was causing abnormal growth. By 1935, scientists had realized that ethylene was a plant hormone, produced by plants in the normal course of growth.  Ethylene is what makes bananas ripen and apples rot.  With the advent of electric lighting, the gas problem went away.  But light itself has powerful effects on tree growth.  Watch the trees on your street and you may notice that trees near street lights sometimes hold their leaves longer on the side facing the light.  …”

There’s more … .

NB, What Do Trees Know? is a popular Field Course where Venerable Trees explores the complicated and dynamic lives (and loves) of trees.

Posted in: Latest News |

How others do it

London Tree Week 2017 is taking place now – between Saturday 27 May and Sunday 4 June 2017.  There is a week of special events with listings and tickets on the London Tree Week 2017 event page.

The 60 plus events include a series of talks organised by the Woodland Trust and a range of guided walks and tours in parks and woodlands. There’ll also be mindfulness, poetry, art and photography walkshops, children’s activities plus exhibitions at City Hall and Thames Chase Forest.There are also a series of tree trails and other resources you can download.

For more details email: or tweet @LDN_environment #LondonTreeWeek

Posted in: Latest News |