Forestry England and British Airways partner to plant trees and create wildflower meadow in new Buckinghamshire woodland

Forestry England and British Airways partner to plant trees and create wildflower meadow in new Buckinghamshire woodland

Forestry England and British Airways today announced a one-year partnership which will support planting 9,000 oak trees and help create an area of wildflower meadow at Wing Wood in Buckinghamshire.

Wing Wood is a new 51-hectare woodland Forestry England is creating to be an inspiring green space for local people, a valuable habitat for wildlife and a sustainable source of timber. Support from British Airways’ Better World Community Fund is boosting the number of trees being planted and has kickstarted funding for the wildflower meadow in the new woodland.

Forestry England have already planted more than 109,000 broadleaf and conifer trees at Wing Wood and will plant another 23,000 this year. Thanks to British Airways’ support, this will include 9,000 oak trees, with British Airways staff joining Forestry England to begin the planting of these at Wing Wood. They also saw how the rest of the new woodland is being created including the preparations for the wildflower meadow, the first section of which will be planted in the spring.

With kickstarter support from British Airways, Forestry England have launched a fundraising campaign using Crowdfunder. They are aiming to raise £16,000 to expand the new wildflower meadow at Wing Wood, which will cover just over half a hectare. The donations will buy beautiful wildflower plants like yellow rattle, birdsfoot trefoil, bellflowers, columbine and knapweed. The meadow will be a spectacular feature as it establishes, and paths alongside will allow visitors to get close up when they are exploring the woodland.

It will blend with the woodland, providing essential food plants for pollinating insects such as butterflies and bees and shelter for small mammals and birds, creating a joined-up mosaic of habitats across Wing Wood. Later this year Forestry England will begin creating five new wildlife ponds, a community orchard and accessible paths. Local people will have a chance to help the woodland take shape at a community planting day on 10th February.

Bethany Cambridge, Forestry England Head of Woodland Creation, said: Wing Wood is one of many new woodlands Forestry England is creating across the country to tackle the climate emergency and the nature crisis we are facing, as well as providing beautiful, inspiring places for people to spend time in. Since the 1930s over 97 per cent of precious wildflower meadows have disappeared.

“By planting this meadow alongside the thousands of trees, we’re creating a biodiverse landscape which will provide many benefits including creating healthy soil, storing carbon and supporting wildlife to thrive. We’re delighted to be working with British Airways to expand what we’re doing at Wing Wood and look forward to seeing this new climate-resilient woodland mature in the years ahead. Partner support like this means we can do more in our woodland creation work, delivering health and wellbeing benefits for communities and supporting nature’s recovery”.

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Mary Brew, Head of Community Investment and Responsible Business at British Airways, said of the partnership:  “We are delighted to support Forestry England as part of our BA Better World Community Fund. Our fund strives to support organisations and social enterprise groups that deliver benefits and life-changing opportunities for the communities we serve around the UK. By working with Forestry England, we’re able to support the charity in creating beautiful green space to be enjoyed by the local community and wildlife alike and we’re looking forward to seeing Wing Wood grow over the years to come.”

As part of the partnership, British Airways staff will also volunteer alongside Forestry England teams to help look after woodlands and forests at four sites across England.

The partnership announcement comes at a time of major national focus on tree planting, woodland creation and nature recovery, with Government targets to treble tree planting rates in England by 2024. Forestry England is planting at least 2,000 hectares of new, high-quality woodland in England by 2025. Several new woodlands are being created as Coronation Woods to mark the Coronation of King Charles III and leave a lasting legacy for people and nature.

People can donate to the wildflower meadow appeal through the dedicated Crowdfunder page.

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