As part of its woodland creation plan, the Duchy of Lancaster has planted more than 175 new avenue trees on the Needwood estate in Staffordshire. Working in partnership with forestry consultants Forwoods and the National Forest, the new planting includes trees within the existing hedgerow along the A515, tree-lined entranceways to Hadley Farm and Eland Lodge Equestrian Centre and a new avenue of trees along Pipey Lane, which will provide both landscaping and habitat benefits. All are native species, including oak, lime and sycamore.
The Duchy has also completed the first planting phase of a five-year plan to create 25 acres of new woodland on the estate, reintroducing indigenous species such as oak, lime, silver birch, sycamore, Scots pine and field maple. The new woodland areas will be accessible to the general public, extending the National Forest and increasing the biodiversity of natural habitats to support local wildlife.
Commenting on the progress to date, Duchy Head of Rural Carol Hawkey said: “I am really delighted to see this new planting take shape and to know that it provides a positive local landscape contribution and will be enjoyed by future generations. Environmental sustainability is key to our long-term plans for our woodland so we have focused on introducing an appropriate mix of native species and integrated wildlife corridors wherever we are planting. We are also using recyclable tree guards and looking at ways to further improve our carbon sequestration in the years ahead.”
The Duchy’s Needwood Estate extends to 2,953-hectares and historically included a large area of ancient woodland which was home to extensive stocks of wolf, wild boar and fallow deer. Today 500 hectares of this woodland remains and in 2015 the Duchy entered into a 10-year woodland management plan to improve and enhance the existing stock.
The Needwood Estate, including the Royal Forest of Needwood, first became part of the Duchy of Lancaster circa 1267 when Henry III gifted the land to his son Edmund, the first Earl of Lancaster and predecessor of the celebrated diplomat and soldier Henry Grosmont on whom Edward II conferred the new title of ‘Duke of Lancaster’ in 1351.