Diamond Jubilee: Woodland Trust to create new woodland

Image caption The new woods are being created to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations

The Woodland Trust is to plant six million trees and create hundreds of new woodlands to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee next year.

These will include Jubilee Woods of up to 20 acres and 60 Diamond Woods of more than 60 acres across the UK.

It will also create a 460-acre woodland in the National Forest in Leicestershire, that will cover an area bigger than London's Regent's Park.

The Trust is aiming to raise £3.3m to purchase and plant the site.

The Leicestershire site will become the biggest block of woodland owned by a single organisation within the National Forest estate.

And the Woodland Trust said the new forest would create a habitat for wildlife ranging from otters to yellowhammers.

The new wood will protect existing ancient woodland, while ancient hedgerows and the wood's edges will provide homes for insects and butterflies, the Trust says.

The organisation aims to increase public access and link up existing rights of way.

'Ambitious project'

Sue Holden, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said: "We need to help create woodland for the nation, to give everyone access to the beauty of the natural world and create a legacy for the Queen's Jubilee.

"It's a chance to celebrate the reign of one of our best-loved and longest-reigning monarchs while educating people about the need to increase woodland cover in the UK.

"We are one of the least wooded countries in Europe so there's an urgent need for more trees to help double native woodland cover in the UK.

"We need the help of people to help make this wood a reality through donations and pledges of support."

The project is the biggest launched by the Woodland Trust since 2008, and its scheme is being supported by the National Forest Company.

Its chairwoman Catherine Graham-Harrison said: "The National Forest is the country's most ambitious project to transform a landscape through planting trees and creating other wildlife-friendly habitats, so it is fitting that such prestigious woodland, led by the country's best-known woodland charity, should take root here."

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