Our recent work

Over the last 3 months the work of the Forest of Avon has included:

  • Delivering the first phase of our 2017 accredited training programme, also working with the Forestry Commission at Westonbirt to run two Outdoor First Aid courses for their staff in May;
  • Running the Woodland Skills project for adults with learning disabilities at Splatt’s Abbey Wood. Attended by 13 adults, activities included: coppicing, dead-hedging, putting up bird-boxes, laying bark chippings on muddy paths and making bird feeders. The feedback from those attending and the local Friends group has been very positive. Bristol College staff emphasised how much calmer students were compared to in classroom. Thanks to the Quartet Community Foundation for the funding. Woodland Skills is part of our wider Woodland Wellbeing programme;
  • Promoting free tree packs to 74 primary schools in Bristol and Avon for the Woodland Trust. So far, 21 schools have taken up the packs;
  • Reviewing tree planting opportunities in primary school grounds in Bristol, Avon and Swindon for the Defra funded school planting scheme. So far, 11 schools have been visited and 850 trees planted;
  • Completing the final phase of the Colliter’s Wood planting, with 1,000 trees planted with 25 OVO and UWE volunteers linked to OVO’s I Dig Trees project;
  • Planting school orchards at St. Stephen’s Junior and Park Primary Schools in Kingswood, making 12 this winter/ spring;
  • Working with the Friends of Page Park and South Gloucestershire Council to fund 33 feature trees in this important park in Staple Hill and planting others in Felicity Park in Warmley;
  • Delivering the Woodland Skills project funded by the OVO Foundation. Recent activities have included the planting at Colliter’s Wood and training days at Manor Woods (Malago Valley), Stockwood and Ridge Wood (Yate). A big thank you to the 3 UWE volunteers who helped with these;
  • Laying half of the roadside hedgerow at The Retreat community woodland, funded by a Lottery Awards for All grant; and
Posted in: Latest News, Our Projects |

European Tree of the Year

The Welsh entry in the European Tree of the Year poll, the Brimmon Oak, finished in 2nd place, which is the UK’s best ever finish it seems – much better than our Eurovision efforts of late.  The oak tree was only 1,394 votes behind the Polish winner, ‘Oak Jozef’.  This is how we did:

  • 1st – Oak Jósef, Poland – 17,597 votes
  • 2nd – Brimmon Oak, Wales – 16,203 votes
  • 5th – Sycamore Gap tree, England – 7,123 votes
  • 6th – Holm Oak, Northern Ireland – 7,101 votes
  • 8th – Ding Dong Tree, Scotland – 6,327 votes

You can see the full results here.

Becky Speight, Woodland Trust CEO, said:

“The UK is rightly renowned for having some of the best examples of ancient trees in Europe, so it’s good to see them finally achieving recognition in the competition.   There is now an opportunity to secure better protection for them following the publication of the housing white paper and we need the public to help us make it happen.”

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An ancient forest shed light on sun spots 290m years ago

A story in the Economist reports the work of Ludwig Luthardt and Ronny Rössler of the Natural History Museum of Chemnitz, Germany, who have been able to apply the tree-ring aging method to petrified trunks from a fossil forest that was buried by a volcanic eruption 290m years ago, during the Permian period.  As they report in Geology, Mr Luthardt and Dr Rössler have found that the sunspot cycle was little different then from what it is now.

The Economist says that the Chemnitz fossil trees, mostly conifers and ferns, are particularly well preserved.  Volcanic minerals seeped into them soon after the eruption and petrified them before bacteria and fungi could rot them. Mr Luthardt and Dr Rössler found 1,917 rings which were in a good enough state to be measured under a microscope and were stunned by how clearly they could see the cycles.

Posted in: Latest News |

The international urban trees research conference

The international urban trees research conference is taking place today and tomorrow at the University of Birmingham. 






This is a collaborative event that brings together professionals of forestry, arboriculture, and other built environment and environmental disciplines, to hear ground breaking international research on urban foresting.  

There are two themes for 2017:

  • Roads to Place – Why trees are an integral part of highway transport design
  • The Health Crisis – The role of trees in improving human health (Mental, physical, social and cultural)

Details are here.

Posted in: Latest News |

How to draw trees

The Woodland Trust has a feature on drawing trees by botanical artist, Vivien Wilson.

Vivien has spent the last 17 years painting the trees, fruits, blossoms and plants that surround her home in the Derbyshire countryside.  Her paintings range from the most majestic trees to the smallest snowdrops and bluebells found under their canopies. …

Posted in: Latest News |

Loveliest of trees …

Loveliests of trees, the cherry now   
Is hung with bloom along the bough,   
And stands about the woodland ride   
Wearing white for Eastertide.   

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,   
And take from seventy springs a score,   
It only leaves me fifty more.   

And since to look at things in bloom   
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go   
To see the cherry hung with snow.
AE Housman
Posted in: Latest News |

More from Forest Research

We highlighted a number of Forest Research issues last week.  If you click here you will be able to see much more of what Forestry researchers have been up to recently.

  • Pests and diseases
    Chalara, Acute oak decline, grey squirrels, socio-economic aspects of tree health
  • Climate change
    Adaptation, mitigation, impacts, urban trees, brownfield
  • Ecosystem services
    Forest hydrology, Genetic conservation, Soil sustainability, LUES, social dimension of forestry
  • Forest management
    Conifer breeding, Seed science, private landowners, Tree and Wood properties
Posted in: Latest News |

Forest of Avon Veteran Tree Project

Field trees Bitton


















The charity has long been convinced of the importance of field trees to landscape character, biodiversity and to local culture.

Through generous grant funding from The Mercers’ Company, we are launching the Forest of Avon Veteran Tree project, initially focusing on North Somerset and Bath & NE Somerset.

Over the next 18 months we will work with a wide range of partners to record veteran trees, candidate veteran trees (and where different) significant landscape trees in fields and woodlands. Anna Brunton, who will lead on the project, will submit details of unrecorded veteran trees to the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt website, as well as training Tree Wardens and other volunteers to record significant trees.

Anna will also work with farmers and landowners to provide advice on tree conservation and grants. If funding can be found, we hope to deliver a further phase of the project working in South Gloucestershire.

To find out more about the project and how you can get involved, please email Anna or call (0117) 963 3383. We will also Tweet regularly about progress.

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

How did you spend yesterday?

Yesterday, Tuesday 21st March, was the International Day of Forests.

Did you walk in one?  Maybe you saw one from a distance, or flew over it.  Maybe you have to make do with a few trees – always good for you as yet another report confirmed the other day.  Or perhaps there was just that tree in your garden or on your street. Did you pause to admire the blackthorn blossom, or the hawthorn leaves now emerging (surely too soon).  And were there fat catkins to touch or sticky chestnut buds to steer clear of?

The UN likes these International Days, but we know every day is for trees, and trees are for every day.

Posted in: Latest News |

Forest Research update

You can read some of the latest news from Forest Research here:

If you would like to receive the Forest Research e-newsletter, you can subscribe online or send your contact details to: newsletter@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

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