TREE planting is underway at ancient woodland site in Wiltshire.
A planting event, hosted by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, was held on Wednesday, January 24 to kickstart a major tree planting programme at Great Wood, an ancient woodland which covers 175 acres near Grittenham in North Wiltshire.
Conservation charity Wiltshire Wildlife Trust decided to purchase it last year to help restore it.

The wood includes some of the largest remaining stand of wild service trees in the country as well as stands of oak, and some trees in it are more than 200 years old.

At the planting event, staff and trustees of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust were joined by board members of primary funder Biffa Award including chair Stewart Goshawk, North Wiltshire MP James Gray and the deputy Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire Victoria Nye.

Major donors who contributed to the trust’s appeal to save Great Wood in 2023 were also in attendance.

The group planted rowan and cherry trees and learnt all about the progress that has been made to aid nature’s recovery at Great Wood to date as well as future plans.

The tree planting programme is part of a wider project to restore Great Wood to its former glory, which commenced in autumn 2023.

The trust is also replacing large swathes of conifers with a mix of native broadleaf trees such as rowan and witch elm, creating new woodland glades and providing more space for the rare wild service trees to flourish. 

James Ravine, head of fundraising, marketing and communications at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This exciting restoration project aligns with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s new strategy, which includes enabling one in four people to take action for nature and leading the push towards 30 per cent of land managed for nature in Wiltshire and Swindon by 2030. 

“Purchasing Great Wood has made a magnificent addition to the existing 800 acres of woodland that the trust manages for nature.

"This project also goes much further than the boundaries of Great Wood, making an important contribution to broader plans for nature’s recovery through collaboration with local landowners to create a local nature recovery network."