This week was National Tree Week. An annual celebration which was originally established by The Tree Council in 1975 to replant trees lost to Dutch Elm disease. Tree planting campaigns go back before this though and many of you may remember the slogan ‘Plant a tree in ‘73’.
The importance of trees is very much in the ascendency. Their significance in combating global warming is undisputed yet the rain forests continue to be decimated and vast areas destroyed by wildfires. In my research for this blog I discovered that:
- Trees remove approximately 14,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to the emissions of 9,000 cars.
- a mature English Oak tree is home to over 284 species of insect alone. And that’s not counting all the other species that the Oak supports.
- Just 13% of the UK is covered in trees (of that 46% is conifer in Scotland) compared with 37% that is the average for other European countries.
In Bristol we have many beautiful wooded spaces, most of which we walk in! Oldbury Court, Blaise, Ashton Court and Leigh Woods are all Nordic walking spaces for us and much loved by those who use them. The largest area is Leigh Woods, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a National Nature Reserve. It is jointly managed by the National Trust and the Forestry Commission. The latter purchased 300 acres in 1949 and took on the mammoth project of restoring this ‘devasted woodland’ which had been largely felled during World War II. It is currently gradually removing conifers to return the woodland to its native state and there’s a team of volunteers, including some of our walkers, who help with all types of projects.
So in celebration of trees, and prompted by the Forestry Commission’s 100th anniversary celebrations, we wrote a poem – a thank you from us walkers to Leigh Woods:
Nordic walkers’ ode to Leigh Woods
We bring our poles, lace up our boots
Stride out in unison
To Nordic walk and socialise
Re-energise and prioritise
Our health and mental wellbeing.
Time spent among the Redwoods
Plus oak, ash, beech and more
From Paradise to Nightingale*
Deliciously savouring every trail
Our very own slice of heaven.
Thank you wonderous vernal space
Majestic, ancient, wise
You lift our spirits whatever the weather
Weave your magic, bring us together
In harmony with your beating pulse.
In conjunction with the Daily Mail, the Tree Council in encouraging us to plant a tree. Click here for more information and to contribute.
*Paradise Bottom and Nightingale Valley are the names of two wonderful areas in Leigh Woods