Work starts on new community woodland in Richmond

Planting has begun on Rufus Woods – the community woodland that is being created this year as part of Richmond’s 950th anniversary celebrations.

The 950 native trees that will form the centre piece of the space and over 400m of hedgerows have arrived from the Woodland Trust.

They are being planted on the site over the next two weeks with help from the land management team at Zetland Estates.

Plans to involve the public in the planting for this initial phase had to be altered because of Covid restrictions.

However, the team of local businesspeople behind the project have come up with an innovative way for the community to get involved in planting.

Residents are being asked to put their names forward to plant a tree, with the Rufus Woods planting team searching for one Richmond resident to represent each decade.

The plan is to choose 11 people born in a year ending in a number one (1991, 1981, 1971 etc) and invite them and up to three other family members to come and plant a tree in a special section of the wood.

Phil Upton, managing director of Purple Creative, one of the team of five driving the project forward, said: “We’d love the family of a new-born who is born in 2021 right through to a centenarian born in 1921 to reflect the generations of the town and remind people this space is designed to be enjoyed for all ages, now and in the future.

“If you are interested in being considered, or want to nominate someone who fits the bill, please email us at including your name, year of your birth and postcode plus a line or two on why you are keen to be involved.

“Deadline is April 20 with the planting happening throughout a week in May.”

A tree sponsorship scheme has also been designed and will be launched in May.

Tim Crawshaw, from Timothy David Crawshaw Urban Design, added: “Support from the local community has been great so far and is very much appreciated.

“We’ve had free legal support from Lisa Potts at Hunton & Garget, help from all the councillors and the continued support of the landowners donating the hectare of space for the site.

“We’ve also been contacted by members of the public who have shared ideas and offers of helps.

“This project has really captured people’s imagination and we are excited to finally see the trees in the ground and the plans turn in to a reality.”

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