You will recall that we asked our farmers in the Sandstone Ridge Farmer Network to get in touch if they wanted to plant some trees which were (at that time) available from the Woodland Trust.
With the support of Tattenhall Wildlife Group (TWiG) who were also successful in a Parish Council Grant Funding Application to support the tree-planting initiative, members of the 1st Bickerton Scouts and 1st Tattenhall Guides were all set to assist in the planting of 500 trees, together with a wildflower meadow, at Broad Oak Farm.
Broad Oak Farm is farmed by Drew and Suzanne Miller. The newly created woodland and wildflower meadow will be located on the farm boundaries and extended to include a field specifically designated for Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme use. This outcome will continue to benefit participants from across Cheshire and the Sandstone Ridge, including Tattenhall and its immediate district.
The Millers are also keen to promote environmental education for all users and participants and to enhance biodiversity conservation and interpretation. As the woodland matures, permissive access will be given to groups such as TWiG (for management tasks and ecological surveys). A longer ambition is to create a permissive footpath from the campsite to join the public footpath which connects with Public Footpath FP11 and the village via FP2.
This tree planting initiative represents community engagement at its very best and this is third occasion when youngsters from these local groups have been involved in practical environmental projects, in support of their badge work.
500 trees were sourced from The Woodland Trust, spray was purchased to accurately mark out the planting areas, wildflower meadow seed was selected and delivered, spare spades were purchased and the refreshments were ordered.
All was ready for this full-day event.
And then the COVID-19 pandemic and life as we had known it altered forever.
The safety of the Scouts, Guides and others could not be compromised since the youngsters and adults would have been working in teams of two and in very close proximity.
That said, the 500 trees had to be planted!
Suzanne and Drew Miller of Broad Oak Farm could never have contemplated that they would end up planting the best part of 500 trees virtually single-handedly and for that we applaud them!
Thanks too, to local friend Anne Fowler and her children — each family working on either side of the field and strictly complying with all the government announcements regarding social distancing.
Very well done — according to Suzanne, sanity is now restored with the help of the fantastic weather and the odd glass of chilled wine — well deserved!