Great Alne Parish Council Branches Out!

Great Alne Parish Council is delighted to share details of its latest initiative to combat the climate emergency and celebrate the Coronation of our new King. Located in the Recreation Ground in Great Alne, the Coronation Copse is a triangular oasis of nature, carefully planted at a respectful distance from houses and services. So far, the Parish Council has planted 57 trees, including Common Oak, Green Beech, Silver Birch, Common Alder, Hornbeam, Rowan, Field Maple, and Hazel. In production of the planting plan, Great Alne has found the advice provided by the Trees Call to Action Project (TCAP) team invaluable.

To make this project even more special, local residents were invited to sponsor a tree which they had the option to dedicate with a tag or plaque. All residents were then invited to take part in a ‘Community Planting and Fun Day’ to create a greener future for Great Alne. Each tree was marked with a numbered flag, creating a ‘tiny forest’ planting scheme.

Great Alne Parish Council provided seven larger specimen trees, including a Himalayan Birch, Wild Cherry, Amelanchier arborea - Serviceberry, Crab apple, and Tibetan cherry to enhance the beauty and diversity of the Copse.

The Coronation Copse not only helps combat the climate crisis and reduce carbon emissions (climate action being top of the Parish Council’s priorities), but also serves as a living legacy in honour of HRH King Charles III and his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. The first tree, the Queen Elizabeth Acer, was planted in June 2022 to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. All of the trees in the Copse are registered on the Queen’s Green Canopy map.

Great Alne Parish Council is very proud of the community cohesion this project has brought. Residents from across the community came together to plant trees and create something extraordinary. As part of the Fun Day, the Parish Council laid on a bouncy castle and a community archery tournament. Family games and a very popular bottle tombola were provided by the Friends of Great Alne Primary School, and a local pub, The Mother Huff Cap, provided drinks and a delicious BBQ in the park. Residents commented positively on the large turnout and wonderful community atmosphere.

Although there has been some normal tree planting challenges, including challenging weather conditions and the loss of a couple of the saplings, the parish council is determined to nurture and care for the trees. Problems like long grasses smothering the new trees were resolved by contacting a local tree surgeon who kindly donated local wood-chip mulch to help retain water around the trees and keep the grass down.

Residents have assisted by watering their sponsored trees when necessary but also watering the neighbouring ones with any excess water. This collective effort truly showcases the power of community involvement and support.

Based on the success of this year, Great Alne Parish Council is already planning to expand their planting efforts next year and increase the local tree cover. Their ambition is to make Great Alne an even greener and more vibrant place to live!

Great Alne Parish Council reflected on what they might have done differently to assist other Councils looking to do a smilar project:

"If we were about to start the process again, and knowing what we now know, we would have planted more trees - as the response for tree sponsors was overwhelming - and we already have a number of residents on a waiting list for the next planting opportunity! We would also have sought the help of the Heart of England Forest earlier on to advise on species selection for our site and would have benefitted from a TCAP officer providing assistance on the day (although we are very lucky to have some experienced local residents who know a lot about tree planting and whose guidance was invaluable on the day!). Nevertheless, the event was a huge success and the feedback from our community has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive."