A bit contrived

PUBLISHED: 11:08 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 06 May 2010

SIR, — The new forest is called Heartwood . Aah, bless. Woodland Trust chief executive Sue Holden s reply (Herts Advertiser, November 20) to my letter of the previous week on the Woodland Trust s choice of name for the new wood outside Sandridge does not

SIR, - "The new forest is called Heartwood". Aah, bless.

Woodland Trust chief executive Sue Holden's reply (Herts Advertiser, November 20) to my letter of the previous week on the Woodland Trust's choice of name for the new wood outside Sandridge does nothing to convince me. In fact the farrago of meaning which we are told has been stuffed into a two-syllable word only serves to make my point. One pictures the focus group hugging themselves with glee at what they have contrived to weave into the chosen name. And contrived is the operative word.

To borrow from Bill Clinton, keep it simple, stupid.

My copy of the Trust's directory lists over 1.000 woods in the British Isles in their care. Names range from the plain and straight-forward to the picturesque and wonderful: Lake Wood, Trafalgar Wood, Spud Wood, Three Cornered Wood, Brickyard Plantation, Gullivers Spinney, Tinney's Firs, Silver Eel Wood, Polebrook and Crow, Penguin Wood at Botany Bay, Cinnamon Brow, Beckmickle Ing. Most are connected to the topography, people or their occupations, events, recent or long ago. A few are contemporary namings. None are kitsch fabrications, born of advertising copywriters or image consultants.

Until now the Woodland Trust has managed perfectly well utilising or adapting existing local names or connections with no sign of exhausting possibilities. Why oh why did they feel compelled to invent a complete fiction to impose on us? I have a feeling that the Trust is so overwhelmed by the fact that the new wood is its biggest so far that euphoria has caused it to lose touch with its ethos and basic principles. And so energise it to bounce up to the startled inhabitants of mid-Herts, crying out: "Look, we're going to make you a huge wood and this is what we are going to call it for you."


Upper Culver Road, St Albans.

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