Ely Tree Planting Day - 30th October 2010

It was a lovely sunny morning when we met at Ely Country Park to plant around 500 native and fruit trees.  Having such perfect weather for planting was a relief and felt like a good omen for the rest of the day.

The 25 large fruit trees arrived from Barchams and we had fun carrying the deceptively heavy trees from the lorry to their designated positions across the field.  The holes for the trees had been dug the day before and upon inspection the holes dug for the larger trees were not deep enough, so we had to spend some time digging them out.  If we weren’t warm enough before we started, we certainly were by the time we finished!

Liz McLelland from the Woodland Trust arrived just in time to help with the unexpected digging and to prepare the equipment needed for planting the smaller cell-grown specimens. 

Cllr Anthea Davidson was very keen to start planting, arriving half an hour early, with spade in hand. 

Just before 11 o’ clock families began arriving to plant trees.  Although we had a welcoming speech prepared everyone was so keen to begin planting that events over took us and we all got stuck in, after instruction and an initial safety briefing from Liz.   

With so many people coming along to help it became clear that we would have every tree planted within a couple of hours – particularly with a group of very keen children who had set themselves a target of planting 75 trees!  9 year old Joe Thornley was heard exclaiming “I never realised that planting trees could be so much fun!”  We feel sure we have a future Tree Warden in Joe. 

It was really nice to see people of all ages taking ownership of ‘their’ tree or little patch of ground: one family even had a picnic amongst the trees they had planted.  We hope that this sense of connection will continue and the planters will become regular visitors to the wood over the coming years. 

Subject to a successful fund-raising campaign, we will be replicating the success of the Ely Tree Planting Day by working with our partners in Littleport, Lode, Mepal, Wicken and Witchford to create another 5 new areas of woodland.  We hope that in turn this will encourage other parishes to identify land that can be used for woodland and that eventually East Cambridgeshire will have a whole network of publicly accessible woodland that can be enjoyed by both wildlife and people for many generations.

We hope you will take the time to visit the new woodland in Ely Country Park and let us know if you have any land that you would like to become a woodland!

Dr Ian Mell, Green Infrastructure Officer & Julie Cornwell, Partnerships Officer, East Cambs District Council.