A Royal Occasion
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Hampshire's Diamond Jubilee Woodlands received the royal seal of approval this week, when Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal planted the first tree at the Andover site.
In celebration of Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, woodlands have been created across the country, as part of a nationwide project coordinated by the Woodland Trust. Hampshire County Council has made the largest contribution to the scheme of any County Council in the UK, creating three woodland sites in Andover, Basingstoke and Hedge End, totaling approximately 100 acres and 50,000 trees.
Joined by local organisations contributing to the scheme and students from schools across Andover, The Princess officially inaugurated the woodland and planted an oak tree. Pupils from Andover Trees United Schools were then given the opportunity to plant their own saplings and meet The Princess Royal. The ceremony was hosted by the County Council, to mark Hampshire's involvement in the project.
The Andover site, covering 44 acres, will be created in the next ten years through partnership working between the County Council, the Woodland Trust, the Forestry Commission, Test Valley Borough Council, and Andover Trees United, a schools-initiated community group.
Andover Trees United will manage a section of the woodland in Andover, bringing together the local community to plant and manage the site. The local organisation provides school children in the area with the opportunity to take part in the woodland's creation, by planting saplings raised in their own school tree nurseries.
Her Royal Highness began her visit at the Endeavour Primary School, where she was welcomed by the County Council Chairman, Councillor Andrew Joy.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, said:
"This has been a wonderful project to be involved in and it is a great honour to have Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal attend this celebration.
"The three woodland sites in Hampshire will provide local residents with a vital resource in the future, offering improved access to Hampshire's countryside and providing communities with the opportunity to use the sites for a variety of recreational and educational pursuits. Working with the Woodland Trust, we have supplied trees for commemorative planting in over 350 schools in Hampshire and over 120 town and parish councils.
"I would like to thank the Woodland Trust who organised the nationwide project and all of our local partners who have contributed to the Hampshire sites."
This autumn sees the final push of the Woodland Trust's Jubilee Woods project. The trees planted at sites such as Hampshire's Diamond Wood will be part of the Trust's huge challenge to plant the remaining 3 million trees out of the 6 million target.