Berkshire lockdown woods to give 'hope for the future'

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image sourceNewbury Friends of the Earth
image captionDr Susan Millington and Sean Leahy from the local environmental group inspect one of the new woodland sites

Three new woodlands are to be created as living memorials to the lives lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

Newbury Friends of the Earth has teamed up with West Berkshire Council, Newbury Town Council and Hungerford Town and Manor to create the woods in Berkshire.

Dedicated to those who have died, they will also give hope for a healthy future, the environmental group said.

Residents can also dedicate trees to a loved one, struggling family and friends, or to honour key workers.

image sourceNewbury Friends of the Earth
image captionFreddie is growing Rowan saplings to be planted in the "lockdown woods"

In November and December, volunteers in Berkshire will plant more than 1,200 young native deciduous trees donated by the Woodland Trust, plus saplings raised by local residents, to create the new woodlands.

Dr Susan Millington, environmentalist and lead for the Lockdown Woods project, said combining the "environmental benefits of new woodlands with living memorials" would provide somewhere beautiful for people to relax "while coming to terms with the losses they have experienced due to the pandemic".

The largest site, about two acres, is Westbrook Down, adjacent to Hungerford Marsh, which will be developed as a community woodland.

Goldwell Park in Newbury, will be home to a second lockdown wood, with 300 trees planted.

Some 12 fruit trees will be added to the existing community orchard in Barn Crescent, Wash Common, and another 70 native woodland trees will be planted to turn it into a third memorial wood.

Chair of Newbury Friends of the Earth Adrian Foster-Fletcher said he hoped the council would continue to collaborate with local environmental groups to increase tree planting and natural regeneration of wild areas "vital to a healthy future for us all".

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