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Family Event You Wood Not Want to Miss

How would you like the chance to help create and name the newest woodland in Bedford Borough?

That is exactly what Bedford Borough Council and the Forest of Marston Vale are offering on Sunday 6th March, as the latest part of their work to create the Bedford River Valley Park.

People of all ages and abilities are being invited to join the Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson and make their mark at a public tree planting event being held at the site of the new woodland, between Bedford and Willington, on Sunday 6th March.

The event is completely free, with people welcome to come along for as long as they want anytime between 11am and 3pm. Trees, tools, cups of tea and even a toilet are all being provided to make things fairly civilised and fun, and people are simply asked to wear suitable clothes and footwear as the area is likely to be quite muddy!

As the Route 51 (Bedford-Sandy) cycleway runs through the new woodland, people are being encouraged to reduce their own carbon footprint by walking or cycling – it’s about one and a half miles east of Priory Country Park. There’s also a specially provided shuttle bus service running direct to the planting site from Elstow Park & Ride and the Forest Centre.

The currently unnamed woodland, which is owned by Bedford Borough Council, is the latest part of the Bedford River Valley Park project which aims to create a mix of woodlands, wetlands and grasslands covering 3½ square miles (over 2,100 acres) between Bedford and Willington. Around 15 acres of the new 25 acre woodland are being planted this winter, using over 10,000 native trees and shrubs, around half of which have been grown from seeds collected in Bedfordshire. The area also boasts a number of significant archaeological features which will be protected by designing the planting around them.

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “This is a genuinely exciting opportunity for local residents to create a new woodland which will remain in place for generations to come.

“We have worked with the Forest of Marston Vale on other planting projects in the past, but this is the first time we have also offered local people the opportunity to name the woodland as well. This is a unique opportunity to be part of history as well as a great day out for the family and I hope lots of local people will come and get involved.”

James Russell, Forest Director at Forest of Marston Vale, said: “We’re looking forward to a great tree planting event, and seeing another piece of the Bedford River Valley Park vision become a reality. A few years back we asked around 40,000 households what they wanted to do in the future Park, and people asked for natural spaces where they could walk and relax with family and friends, have contact with nature and where wildlife flourished. Therefore, it is fantastic to now be helping create just what people asked for. It’s even better that people also have the chance to get involved themselves, and to help name the new woodland.

“It’s particularly pleasing for us to be working with the Borough Council to plant this new woodland on their land, marking the latest contribution to creating the Bedford River Valley Park, as the whole ambitious concept was developed from an original idea of theirs. By working together, we’re able to move the project forward more quickly, bringing all of the many benefits to people and wildlife much sooner.”

All those attending the planting event will have the chance to submit a name for the new woodland. All suggestions are welcome. Perhaps you would like to name it after a loved one? Or a name to reflect the local area? Or anything else you can think of. The winner will be chosen by the Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, and announced in due course.

For further information, visit: http://www.marstonvale.org/news

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