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Latest posts form the charity

The Top Ten Woods

The Woodland Trust has a list of the country’s top ten woods for autumn colour.  One is in the Forest of Avon; it’s Bishops Knoll in Bristol.  The WT says:

The Woodland Trust says, stroll around the 19th century hidden woodland and garden and uncover secrets from its grand past.

Bishops Knoll was once a medieval deer park and later the grounds of a 19th century stately home.  It is now a myriad of paths, terraces and exotic and ancient trees.

Why don’t you find the arboretum as it is slowly uncovered and while away the hours wandering around this open air time capsule.  We shall see you there …

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Speaking for the trees

The US City Parks Blog has a feature on the life of trees in the city.  It begins:

“To be a tree in the city is very hard.  A tree that would live 80 years in the forest has a life expectancy of 20 years in the suburbs, and less than that in an urban setting where trees are often planted in sidewalk cutouts.  Let’s face it; even if a tree gets planted correctly and watered, it faces a host of other environmental and human challenges ranging from storms, insects, air pollution, and low-quality soil to road salt and reckless drivers.  …”

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Our Orchard project

The Forest of Avon Trust’s Orchard project featured in the latest Countryside Classroom newsletter.  This reported:

Ten schools from across the South West recently learned about the benefits of trees, and planted fruit trees as part of this year’s Schools Orchard Project.

The trust provided guidance and free fruit trees as well as helping out with planting where needed. Hundreds of children got involved and planted a grand total of 95 fruit trees.

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Woodland Wellbeing Dementia Project

The Forest of Avon Trust’s Woodland Wellbeing Dementia Project is an example of a fundamental part of the ethos of the charity at work.

This has been to both apply and develop best practice in the delivery of the benefits of the being in the natural environment.

In this work, the Trust applies the principles of Forest School to deliver successful projects tailored to the needs of diverse groups tackling isolation, developing confidence and more widely improving quality of life.  Currently we are proud to be delivering a project working with people with dementia and their partners and carers.

Woodland activities in sessions have included:

• walking
• listening to bird song
• making kazoos
• making quills to write down thoughts
• making mallets
• using various flowers & berries to make hapa zome bunting

To find out more about our work, or to discuss a new project, email:

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Drawing trees at Kew

Kew Gardens has a new day course on an introduction to drawing trees, which covers composition, scale, experimentation, and texture.  After an outdoor ice-breaker exercise using sketchbooks/paper on board, the morning continues with composition studies using viewfinders which focuses on how the structure of branches and negative space can bring balance to a composition.

The day also includes sessions on experimental drawing and working with a range of materials to explore how mark-making and texture can help reflect the organic nature of trees.  The tutor is Stuart Simler who has exhibited internationally.

It takes place on 29 September: 1030 to 1630.  To book, email with a contact telephone number, or call 020 8332 5626

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Trees for schools from the Woodland Trust

Here are the details of the Woodland Trust’s latest tree offer to schools.  

For November 2016 delivery, packs of 30 saplings in a hedge or copse mix are still available for most state-funded primary (KS2) schools in England. Up to 2 packs may be requested per school.

The application form for delivery of packs of 30, 105 or 420 saplings in March 2017 is due to open on 13 September for any other schools.

For more detail, contact or call 0330 333 3300


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Latest news from the FEN

Click here to see the latest from the Forest Education Network, the FEN.

FEN is a free networking organisation which provides an information, signposting and support service for members that are themselves directly involved with providing or promoting forest education opportunities.  It is currently hosted by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC).

The Forest Education Network covers activities and networks in England. For information about Scotland, visit, and click here for updates from Wales. There is also a diverse and active GB-wide FEI Facebook group.

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Natural Connections

What do the following have in common?

Lunar Thorn  Selenia lunularia
Privet Hawk-moth  Sphinx ligustri
Ash Bud Moth  Prays fraxinella
Brick  Agrochola circellaris
Mottled Beauty  Alcis repandata
Lilac Beauty  Apeira syringaria
Twin-spotted Quaker  Orthosia munda
Brown Oak Tortrix  Archips crataegana
Variegated Golden Tortrix  Archips xylosteana
Centre-barred Sallow  Atethmia centrago
Tawny Pinion  Lithophane semibrunnea
Ash-bark Knot-horn  Euzophera pinguis
Ash Pug  Eupithecia innotata f. fraxinata
November Moth  Epirrita dilutata
Dusky Thorn  Ennomos fuscantaria
Coronet  Craniophora ligustri
Privet Twist  Clepsis consimilana
Common Slender  Caloptilia syringella
Feathered Slender  Caloptilia cuculipennella
Brown Ash Ermel  Zelleria hepariella

Although it sounds a bit like an Oxbridge entry exam question, the clues are in the English names … They are all moths – ones native to the UK.  More than that, they are the moths that use the Ash as a foodstuff.  This picture is of the Dusky Thorn.  The Wildlife Trusts say that at least 60 of the rarest insect species in Britain have an association with ash – mostly rare beetles and flies.

The Wildlife Trusts website has an informative section on the Ash and Ash dieback, which is where this detail comes from.


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Should ancient woodland have statutory legal protection

There has been a petition in parliament for the last 6 months to give ancient woodland legal protection.  It expired on August 29th with only around 16,000 signatures, well below the 100,000 needed for debate.

The petition said:

“In the UK it has been said that we are down to just 2% of our total land space covered by ancient woodland which is widely regarded as one of our most important wildlife habitats yet it’s still under threat.  If landowners don’t protect this land they should be made to sell it to someone who will.  Ancient woodland is an important store of seeds and invertebrates needed for potential rewildling & flood prevention as described by George Monbiot & the Woodland Trust in their various campaigns. While saplings have been planted in offsetting schemes, these young trees take a long time to reach maturity and the ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that mature trees in ancient woodland can. It also requires a lot of work for these plantations to reach the same conservation value.”

The response from DEFRA said:

“Woodland cover in England is at its highest level since the 14th century. The National Planning Policy Framework provides strong protection for ancient woodlands.  Our ancient woodlands are highly valued and cherished, and are a resource rich in life, providing homes and food for animals, birds and insects. They store carbon, produce oxygen and filter out pollution; they also provide some of the most interesting places for us to enjoy. We know that ancient woodlands are an irreplaceable habitat, which is why we recognise their special status in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which was last updated in 2012.

Since the Second World War, great efforts have been made to restore and actively manage our ancient woodlands. The ancient woodland inventory estimates approximately 340,000 hectares of woodland in England that is ancient. Subsequent estimates suggest that there are about 210,000 hectares of native woodland not on ancient woodland sites. Taken together, those two categories of woodland comprise just over half of England’s woodlands, at about 550,000 hectares.

Although we have ambitions to increase woodland cover and improve the quality of our woodland management, we must be mindful that those ambitions sit alongside a need to increase food production, create renewable energy and capture carbon, while also maintaining the habitats that our wildlife depends on, such as our ancient woodlands. In order to compete globally economically, we need to update and upgrade our ageing infrastructure and ensure that development enables our economic growth to be sustained.

We have, however, always made a special case for our ancient woodland, which is why they are protected in the NPPF. The passage that deals with them clearly states:

Planning permission should be refused for development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland and … veteran trees … unless the need for, and benefits of, the development in that location clearly outweigh the loss”.

The position is very clear: there is protection. The Government certainly has no plans to undermine or change that position; figures from the Woodland Trust itself suggest that less than 0.25% of ancient woodland has been developed in the last 15 years, which indicates that this protection is working. Nevertheless, Natural England has been working with the Forestry Commission to produce refreshed guidance for all planning authorities to help them take full and proper account of ancient woodland in the planning process. This outlines a range of mitigation and compensation measures that may be offered by developers to offset loss or damage, where developments affecting ancient woodland and veteran trees may receive planning permission.

In addition to this, England’s woodland coverage is as high as it has been since the 14th century, totaling a little more than 1.3 million hectares, which equates to 41% of the UK total or 10% of England’s land area. We have a commitment to plant a further 11 million trees before the end of this Parliament.

We recognise that this issue is complex and we are continually striving to improve the operation of planning protections for ancient woodlands. The challenges we face today are totally different from the challenges of even 20 years ago, which is why we need to balance woodland interests with our wider competing land use requirements. The Government considers that the existing protection for ancient woodland in the NPPF is strong and is protecting our ancient woodlands and veteran trees.


Given our love of trees, it might seem odd that this petition has gathered so few signatures.  Could it be that what it proposed was seen as too draconian, or was the DEFRA response to the case just persuasive?



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Calling all Bristol Allotment Holders

Ashmeads Kernel c.Trees for Life

We  are delighted to have teamed up with Bristol City Council’s Allotments Team for the fifth year running.

Once again we can offer discounted, high quality, 3 year old potted fruit trees. Whilst allotment holders are limited to dwarfing root-stocks, we can still offer a huge range of  fruit trees and bushes in many varieties.

Trees and bushes are available for collection from Ashton Court in early November 2016 and early March 2017. (A total of 6 dwarfing fruit trees are allowable on an allotment.)

Interested? All you have to do is click: FoA-Trust-Quality-Fruit-Tree-List-2016_17 to download the list, check the varieties and tree forms you want are available on the following rootstocks and email with your tree and/ or bush order. We will confirm availability and let you know payment and collection details.

Rootstocks for allotments

Apples: M27 and M9; Pears/ Quinces: Quince C; Plums/ Damsons/ Gages/ Mirabelles/ Peaches on VVA-1; Cherries: Gisela 5; Apricots on Torinel.

Tree forms for allotments

Most forms (shapes) of trees are allowable provided they are on an approved rootstock (above). As a general rule espaliers and fan- trained trees are not suitable for allotments, as many are grown on more vigorous rootstocks. 

Please also contact us for your garden fruit and ornamental trees.

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