Kettering Queen's Green Canopy takes shape thanks to eco volunteers

Mass tree planting across the country will mark The Queen's Platinum jubilee

Saturday, 27th November 2021, 5:21 am

Kettering's latest addition to the Queen's Green Canopy has taken root in Wicksteed Park’s hay meadow next to Barton Hall and the Ise Lodge estate.

Hundreds of volunteers planted 440 saplings to reforest the historically wooded section of the 'Wilderness' land owned by Wicksteed Charitable Trust, lost in the early 20th century.

Co-organised by members of Kettering Eco Group - Jamie Wildman (University of Northampton) and Cllr Emily Fedorowycz - with assistance from Lewis Mitchell, Wicksteed Park's park ranger, and the Wicksteed Charitable Trust, the saplings used were provided by Woodland Trust as part of its free tree packs for schools and communities scheme.

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Rowan with grandad Clive Shackleton planting a rowan tree

The event has been recognised by the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC), and has been awarded a virtual plaque, and added to QGC map as the first large-scale QGC planting event in Northamptonshire to commemorate Her Majesty’s 2022 Platinum Jubilee.

Jamie Wildman said: “The Woodland Trust and Wicksteed Charitable Trust enabled us to reforest a historically wooded site in Kettering, and give natural woodland regeneration a helping hand. I’m delighted by the outcome of our community tree planting event and look forward to seeing the saplings grow in the coming years.”

The tree planting initiative, to mark the monarch’s jubilee, was launched across Northamptonshire with a planting ceremony at Wicksteed Park last month.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders Watson, and Oliver Wicksteed, chairman of the Wicksteed Charitable Trust, planted the first jubilee tree as part of the park’s new 1.6-acre woodland, which will recreate the Paradise Spinney on a site close to the fishing lake and park railway.

Nigel Bennett from The Green Patch and Cllr Dez Dell

As part of the national QGC project, everyone across the UK is being invited to ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’ through to the end of the Jubilee year in 2022.

Oliver Wicksteed, chairman of the Wicksteed Charitable Trust, said: “This latest tree planting scheme is a fantastic example of people coming together and working to improve the environment.

"Along with the park’s Paradise Spinney initiative, it is part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project, which I would like to urge people across the county to get involved with.”

A total of 440 saplings have been planted of eleven different species: blackthorn, dog rose, hazel, and hawthorn 135, crab apple (15), wild cherry (30), elder (15), grey willow (30), oak (60), silver birch (60), and rowan (95).

Polly Shackleton and Nigel Bennett from the Green Patch, with Jamie Wildman, event co-organiser (right)

The saplings will now be looked after by members of the public and Wicksteed Park. People are being asked to supervise their growth by watering and weeding them, and ensuring their canes and guards stay in place whilst they are still young and vulnerable.

Leanne Buckingham, deputy chief cadet officer for the Emergency Service Cadets who helped plant the saplings, said: “it was such a privilege to be able to support Kettering Eco Group in re-establishing historic woodland on the Wicksteed Park site.

"It gave the teenagers opportunity to make a lasting difference to their community, to engage with members of the public, and to spend the weekend performing an activity that will be felt by us all for decades to come.”

Joining Eco Group volunteers were supporters of The Green Patch and Independent filmmaker Daniel Frampton of Immanent Productions who is making a short film about the day.

Lewis Mitchell, park ranger at Wicksteed Park, instructing the Emergency Services Cadets on how to correctly plant a sapling

Kettering Eco Group, a volunteer environmental group, was co-founded in July 2019 by Cllr Emily Fedorowycz and Cllr Dez Dell, North Northamptonshire Green Party councillors.

Cllr Fedorowycz said: “I can’t express how blown away I was by the community spirit at our latest tree planting event. The cadets were absolute superstars, and together we’ve all created something really special. The act of tree planting is so symbolic for people; it’s a real way to leave a legacy, and it connects us to one another and our town. I can’t wait for next year when people will have even more opportunities to get involved with the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.”

Volunteers planting the trees