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The Colchester Woodland Project

The Colchester Woodland Project launched in 2019. We plan to plant 200,000 trees across the borough over the next few years as part of the Better Colchester campaign.

With the help of many of you we have made a great start. As the Colchester Woodland Project evolves, we want to share with you what is at the very heart of the project.

The Colchester Woodland Project:

  • Strives to make our borough greener.
  • Is committed to planting trees and helping biodiversity to flourish.
  • Will plant and manage our spaces without harming existing habitats.
  • Will enhance environments to create more space for nature to grow and thrive.
  • Will encourage our community to love and care for our environment, from wildflowers and meadows, to our woods and parks, old or new.
  • Will take the time to discover, nurture and enable the work led by communities.
We want to work alongside our community to get to know, love and use our woods and parks.

We want everyone to benefit from the environmental, health and wellbeing, and societal benefits they bring.

How can you get involved? 

Over the next year there are lots of ways you can get involved in the project.
  • Planting days for 20,000 more trees and shrubs will start in November and we want you to come along.
  • Walk the Colchester Orbital - you can download maps for walking and cycling on our Orbital page.
  • This autumn go for a walk, collect and grow your seeds then come and plant them as part of the Colchester Woodland Project in two years’ time!

Seed gathering season: 23 September – 23 October

As part of the Tree Council ‘s Seed Gathering campaign, we are asking organisations, local communities and families to gather seeds, fruits and nuts this Autumn, which you can nurture and grow to be the trees of the future!
 
Growing trees from local seed can have great benefits in restocking areas with trees of local provenance. The concept of local provenance suggests that trees that are adapted to the local circumstances are more likely to flourish and so help restore, conserve and beautify local urban and rural spaces. Collecting seeds and growing trees is also a great way to get children involved and start growing the next generation of tree enthusiasts too.
 
When collecting seeds, fruits and nuts there are some things to keep in mind:
  • Fruit is the property of the landowner.
  • Don’t collect anything from trees beside busy roads or on old industrial sites.
  • Don’t allow unsupervised children to pick – or eat – from trees and make sure you know exactly what you are picking.
  • Don’t pick more than you need and do not damage the trees.
 It’s a great idea to label your seeds too with what the seed is and ideally where you found it - if you are not sure take a photo of the seed and the leaf from the tree! The Woodland Trust website has lots of advice on what to do with your seeds next to grow a tree: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/advice/grow-from-seed/.
 
If you need some help seed gathering packs will also be available from High Woods Country Park Visitor Centre for just £1 per pack, available when the centre is open from 20 September to 19 October. Packs will provide the information you need, a tree trail map, paper bags for collecting your seeds in.

Changes to grass cutting regime to help biodiversity flourish

We have changed the grass cutting regime in certain areas across the borough to encourage greater biodiversity in some of the Council's green spaces. The cutting regime in areas around Castle Park has changed from once every 3 weeks to once at the end of the growing season (around mid-autumn). This will encourage wildflower growth and help develop the area for invertebrates such as bees, butterflies and moths.
 
Changes have been made with the aim of benefitting pollinators and other insects, which are hugely important for lots of things, including the regulation of the natural environment and the food system.
 
Whilst it may be perceived that ‘weeds’ and long growth of plants and flowers can look unruly, this approach has been adopted by other Councils, and the wildflowers look very visually attractive during the growing season, as well as supporting wildlife and our environment.
 
Since this reduction in grass cutting has been put in place 18 species of butterfly have been recorded in the areas, which is about a third of all the species found across the country. A large number of bee species have also been identified which is a great result for such a short period of time.
 
We will be working with local school children to help design signage for these areas in a bid to help educate them around the project and importance of looking after and supporting our environment to flourish.

#LoveYourTrees

Another way you can get involved is by helping us spread the word about this fantastic project by sharing your pictures with us on Facebook.

We would love to see pictures of:

  • your favourite tree around Colchester
  • a tree that you’ve collected as part of our annual 'Trees for Years' event that is now flourishing
  • you and your loved ones enjoying some of the beautiful green spaces around Colchester

Just tag @enjoycolchester when you post your picture, and don’t forget #loveyourtrees and #colchesterwoodlandproject too!

We also wanted to let you know that over the next year we will be:

  • reducing the use of Glyphosate weed killer in Council operations.
  • identifying the gaps in our nature recovery networks to help wildlife and biodiversity.
  • proactively working within and alongside communities to make Colchester greener.

Our Green fingered supporters

Below you can see everyone who has taken part in the Colchester Woodland Project so far and joined us in helping to green the borough. Is your name on the list? Then why not share this page on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed and help us spread the word…

Name Location Date
Phil Ager Kings Head Meadow 01/02/2020
Molcut Atena - Andreea Kings Head Meadow 01/02/2020

Page last reviewed: 7 February 2020