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News

Community comes together to plant trees for the Jubilee

17 January 2022

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Tree planting at Countess of Chester Country Park

To celebrate Chester becoming a Queen's Green Canopy Champion City, volunteers came together to plant 360 trees at a community event in the Countess of Chester Country Park on Saturday, 15 January.

Over 40 volunteers joined The Mersey Forest, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and the Friends of the Countess of Chester Park group to plant a range of native trees including Oak, Birch, Hawthorn and Hazel.

The woodland will form part of the Queen's Green Canopy (QGC), a unique, national tree planting initiative to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee this year.

Chester has been recognised as a QGC Champion City, joining 13 other cities nationally, and will work with The Mersey Forest to undertake a wide range of tree planting projects across the borough, throughout the year.

Alongside the woodland planting, The Lord-Lieutenant, Lady Redmond planted a Jubilee tree on the site, before presenting a plaque to the Sheriff of Chester, Councillor Jill Houlbrook, on behalf of the Queen's Green Canopy Foundation, in recognition of the city's status as a QGC Champion City.   

The Jubilee tree species is an Oak, a native species which will grow to up to 40 metres high and supports more life than any other native tree species in the UK.

The Sheriff of Chester also planted an Oak tree on the day to mark the 900th anniversary of the role of Sheriff of Chester.

The Lord-Lieutenant, Lady Redmond MBE, said: "I am extremely proud that Chester has been given this well deserved award as one of the QGC's Champion Cities.  Congratulations on a fantastic plan for planting new trees and establishing new woodland within the city, as well as supporting local people to be trained in woodland creation and management; an impressive and important legacy celebrating Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee.'"

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "It's great to see so many people getting involved with the tree planting at this popular local park. This site forms part of the wider Mersey Forest, which is connecting people with nature, something that we know is beneficial for our residents' health and wellbeing. As it establishes, the woodland will become a carbon store, playing an important role in helping the borough to become carbon neutral by 2045, as well as boosting biodiversity in the area."

The trees planted have been funded by The Mersey Forest Foundation.  The Foundation is the charitable arm of The Mersey Forest Partnership and allows local people and businesses to donate towards tree planting across Merseyside and Cheshire.

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Chester Jubilee Tree planted as part of Queen's Green Canopy

06 January 2022

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Image 1
As part of the new surface drain reinstatement works in Chester, a Jubilee Tree has been planted on the Grosvenor Roundabout by Cheshire West and Chester Council in partnership with The Mersey Forest and VINCI Construction UK.

Following the completion of the 1km long surface water drain, which will provide many future-proof environmental benefits for the city including reducing sewage outfalls into the river Dee, the new tree is one of 100 being planted by The Mersey Forest in Chester to replace the eleven trees that were felled in 2020 as part of the drain enabling works.

The Jubilee Tree species is a Amelanchier Arborea Robin Hill which will provide white spring flowers and rich autumnal colour; and will be part of a borough-wide contribution to the Queen's Green Canopy (QGC), a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the country to "Plant a Tree for the Jubilee". 

Chester has been recognised as a QGC Champion City, joining twelve other cities nationally, and will undertake a wide range of projects across the borough throughout the year including:

  • Creating a new Green Task Force with 30 military veterans who will be offered training and paid job opportunities in woodland creation and woodland management, as a steppingstone into full-time work 
  • Installing 20 leaky woody dams in the Lower Dane Catchment and Rivacre Valley and creating 2.6ha of woodland on the banks of rivers and streams 
  • Upskilling 10 young people (age 18-24) to create a specialist tree nursery including the propagation of scarce, difficult to source, native tree species and pioneer woodland wildflower species. 
  • Hosting a community tree planting event at the Countess Country Park on Saturday 15th January. The public are invited to help plant 360 trees, to take part register in advance as places are free but limited: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tree-planting-at-the-countess-country-park-chester-tickets-224117299877 


The planting of the Jubilee Tree has been sponsored by VINCI Construction UK, the Council's principal construction partner for the new surface water drain and Northgate development set to open in 2022.

Further information about the QGC is available: www.queensgreencanopy.org 

Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, Economy & Regeneration, said: "The trees in the area around the Grosvenor Roundabout are an important feature on the skyline as you approach our city from the south. Being able to re-plant a tree in this location is a sign that the large drain construction project is finally coming to an end, and although it will take a long time to grow, this tree will one day stand tall at the entrance to our city and will be a lasting legacy of the Queen's Green Canopy."

Colin Rankin, Business Development Director of VINCI Building said: "This location is a key gateway for the city so its fitting that we will be planting a Jubilee Tree and celebrating its royal links dating back over 800 years, with the title of Earl of Chester having been granted to heirs to the throne since 1301".

Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest, said: "Planting more trees and establishing new woodlands will provide many benefits for our communities and help to lock up carbon on our journey to becoming a carbon neutral borough by 2045. Alongside our work of establishing Community Forests, we're also delighted to be able to support local people to be trained in woodland creation and management, providing them with the skills to join the industry and play their part in protecting and enhancing nature in their communities." 

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Stafford Street trees get thumbs up from local community

09 December 2021

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fabric-district-infographic 3Dec
As part of Liverpool City Region's Whole Place Low Carbon project we've been working with a range of partners to introduce nature-based solutions across the area that will help to capture carbon and provide additional benefits to the community. The project has been part-funded by over £900,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

One of the areas that has benefitted from the project is Stafford Street in The Fabric District where 32 large standard trees have been planted.

The trees, which were planted in Spring 2021, have been popular with the local community with 92% of people surveyed in October saying that planting street trees makes the are look better and attracts people and businesses. Businesses have also been pleased with the results, with 82% saying that greening the area has benefited their business to some or a great extent.

Adding trees to an urban street can also encourage more people to cycle or walk that route and improve people's wellbeing.

There was little green infrastructure in the area prior to the trees going in and the Mersey Forest team worked closely with Liverpool City Council and the Fabric District CIC to deliver the planting scheme, helping to provide vital cooling and shade for the area in the summer and improve the air quality, as they filter pollution from road traffic.

These trees will be doing their bit to capture carbon, playing a part in the city region's ambition to become zero-carbon by 2040. It is estimated that the 32 trees will capture 28 tonnes of CO2e over a 40-year period.

European Regional Development Fund
The project has received up to £903,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

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Celebration tree planting at Griffin Wood for our two friends

08 December 2021

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Pats wife, Marie, planting the memorial tree
During National Tree Week we headed to Griffin Wood near St Helens to plant two trees to celebrate the lives of two very special people.

The first was for Pat McCloskey, who was the chair of the Mersey Forest Steering Group from 2002 until his sad passing in 2020. We joined Pat's wife, Marie, family, friends and colleagues to plant an Oak Tree in his memory, amongst the community woodland that we helped establish here in 2007.

Pat was supportive of the work of the Mersey Forest for many years before he joined the steering group and was an essential part of our Partnership, as well as a great mentor and friend to all of us.

The second tree planted was for Pat's friend, Norman Armstrong Kersh, who founded the charity Life for a Life Memorial Forests, who we have partnered with to create a memorial wood at this site. Pat worked closely with Norman and the Life for a Life programme as it developed and Norman introduced Pat to Willow Wood Hospice, an organisation that Pat also chaired.

Life for a Life is a charity that offers the chance to celebrate or commemorate a loved one by dedicating a tree or installing a bench in their memory.

We have worked closely with the team at Life for a Life over a number of years, and they have recently helped to transform the entrance to Griffin Wood and have been busy mowing the meadows and paths making the area attractive for the many visitors who enjoy the site.
 

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Three bridges reinstated at Griffin Wood thanks to donation

08 December 2021

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The new bridge in Griffin Wood
During National Tree Week (27 November – 5 December 2021) we were able to officially open three new footbridges in the mature woodland at Griffin Wood, St Helens.
The bridges were sadly vandalised during lockdown in 2020, meaning that this section of the woodland had to be closed off.

We had many messages of support via our social media accounts at the time and local resident, Norman Lidbury, who walks in the wood regularly, kindly donated a significant amount of money to help install the new bridges.

Griffin Wood is a community woodland, with a lovely section of mature woodland at its entrance which then opens out onto a much wider expanse of new woodland designed and planted with the help of the local community in 2007.

The new bridges  really help to open the woodland up to visitors to explore and enjoy, with lots of wildlife to be spotted as the seasons change.
 

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