Tree planting and coppicing at Hartest Wood
The other week Woodland Trust volunteers carried out their annual Hartest Wood tidy up and had a good turnout of enthusiasts. This year the volunteers concentrated on coppicing some more of the hazels and widened one of the boundary footpaths which was becoming a tangle of blackthorn. As well as these activities the group took part in some tree planting along Pask’s Path which is the pathway that approaches the woodland from Hartest village. The trees were offered by the Woodland Trust to the Suffolk Tree Warden Network. At the moment the pathway is rather exposed, running along a high bank so the trees in time will provide shelter and make a stunning approach to the wood.
Hartest Wood has a really interesting story behind its design, as its layout mirrors the village of Hartest. The plot of land was originally bought with generous gifts from villagers and was given to the Woodland Trust, who provided additional funds and trees. It was one of the 200 Millennium Woods created by The Woodland Trust under the ‘Woods on Your Doorstep’ scheme. Members of the village of Hartest planned and planted the wood and one day in December 1999 100 adults and young people planted 1066 trees, an amazing achievement!
Within the wood, the pathways represent the roads of the parish and an oak tree was planted to represent every house in the village – many of which are oak framed. In the wood, yews and hollies mark the site of the church and in one corner is a small section called ‘Bell Stay Bottom’ where ash trees were planted. It was hoped that one day these trees would provide ash stays for the church bells when needed. However, the ash trees were planted before the presence of ash dieback and sadly some of the ash trees are succumbing to the fungus.
In the centre of the wood is a wonderful sculpture called The Gift which was kindly donated by a village resident – the late Geoffrey Clarke, who is probably most famous for his “witches broom” fleche sculpture which sits on the roof of the new Coventry Cathedral. Mr Clarke also made a miniature sculpture of a mounted spade which was awarded to our champion planter on the day the wood was planted. It still has pride of place on his mantelpiece.
Thanks to John and the volunteers of Hartest wood for their hard work!