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Public Tree Planting


Public Tree Planting at Octagon Wood


Last winter more than two hundred people joined the Mayor of Bedford and the Marston Vale Trust team to begin planting a new wood in Bedford River Valley Park. Ten thousand trees were planted to create the first part of Octagon Wood and on Sunday 12th February there will be another chance to enjoy this very special experience. The team will be there again, welcoming all-comers to help create this ten hectare piece of the River Valley Park.


Octagon Wood is a collaboration between Bedford Borough Council and the Marston Vale Trust, the charity creating the Forest of Marston Vale. As part of the shared vision for creating the River Valley Park, the Council is providing the land; the Trust is raising the money and managing the project.


A successful partnership

“This is a great example of the Council working in partnership to make things happen and improve the Bedford area” said Mayor Dave Hodgson. “We’ve got the land and the Marston Vale team has the right people with the right track record. I’m very much looking forward to getting out there with my spade again and hope that lots of people will join us.” The Mayor will officially open the wood at midday.


James Russell, Forest Director with the Marston Vale Trust added “It will be great to see the final trees go into the ground at Octagon Wood. The ten thousand trees and shrubs planted last year caused us a few worries given that 2011 was the driest spring in fifty years. In the end they did well. We’re delighted to be planting more trees this year and again working with the Borough Council to create another bit of Bedford River Valley Park.”  The trees have been carefully chosen to suit the low-lying and sometimes wet land. They are all native, broad-leaved species such as ash, alder, downy birch and willow, all of which will be able to grow well there.


If you’ve never planted a tree before, it might sound like hard work. It’s not! Virtually all of the million plus trees planted in the Forest over the past twenty years went into the ground whilst still very small. That way they grow quickly and very few die, they need a small hole, so planting’s quick and pretty easy. And if that still sounds like an ordeal, there will be plenty of Volunteers to help.


Free buses all day

A free bus service will run to the planting site from the Forest Centre at Marston Moretaine (departing every half hour between 10.30 and 14.00), also picking up at Elstow Park & Ride (every half hour between 10.45 and 14.15). Full details at www.marstonvale.org/news

Please don’t drive to the site – there is no parking there. Come when you like, stay for as long as you like and plant as many trees as you like. When you arrive you’ll be provided with everything you need – trees, tools and a toilet. Then when you’ve planted all the trees you wish, enjoy free tea, coffee and biscuits. There will also be other refreshments on sale. The only things you need to bring are warm clothes, waterproof shoes and a great wedge of enthusiasm.


Ride with a guide

Octagon Wood lies astride Route 51 of the National Cycle Network, so the new planting will add an extra experience to the ride from Milton Keynes to Sandy. For the less ambitious, it’s just over a mile from Priory Country Park along National Cycle Network Route 51, a maximum of twenty minutes. It’s surfaced, traffic-free and well signed. Join a guide at 10.45am, leaving Priory Visitor Centre to enjoy a ride to Octagon Wood. Riding in a group’s fun and you’re sure not to get lost!


Make your mark

Planting trees gives you the chance to make your mark on the creation of Bedford River Valley Park, an ambitious project that will see around 3½ square miles of accessible greenspace created, to the east of Bedford over the next decade and beyond. Octagon Wood will be open to the public all the time in the future, so you will be welcome to come back in years to come and watch the wood grow.


For further information, please visit www.marstonvale.org/news or call 01234 767037 or email info@marstonvale.org

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