Synthetic name

PUBLISHED: 10:36 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:43 06 May 2010

SIR, — Last year I took out life membership of the Woodland Trust (WT) and was rewarded unexpectedly quickly by the news of the WT acquisition of land at Sandridge this summer. (A little voice says: Oh, that it were between St Albans and Hatfield). The bu

SIR, - Last year I took out life membership of the Woodland Trust (WT) and was rewarded unexpectedly quickly by the news of the WT acquisition of land at Sandridge this summer. (A little voice says: Oh, that it were between St Albans and Hatfield).

The bubble of euphoria was burst for me by the news (Herts Advertiser, November 6) of the name for the new forest, Heartwood, which the WT proposes to foist on us.

Surely in the name of all good public relations, some effort could have been made to sound out local feeling on a name. We are the people who have to live with it and who will have to listen to the jibes of those with more good taste than the WT's gel-haired marketing whizzkids.

What is being offered, or more correctly thrust at us, smacks of the worst sort of synthetic traditionalism indulged in by developers when naming their battery estates - names which can often provoke a strong desire to throw up on my part.

If asked, off the top of my head I could suggest Sandryyge Forest (an earlier spelling of Sandridge), or Allmans Forest (next to Nomansland, which everyone in mid-Herts knows).

The thinking that has gone into the chosen name must be the very antithesis of what the WT is all about - the assertion of the will to retain and restore one of the identifying features of the British countryside. Instead, a label typifying shallow, consumer-targeted promotion has been stuck on the project.

Admit it,WT, you have been mesmerised by the PR and marketing consultants - consultants who should be restricted to promoting this year's shampoo gimmick, not parts of our countryside which will be around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Think again.

May I suggest to anyone (besides Robert Hill) who is as appalled by the choice of name as I am), that they tell the WT so. Write to Sue Holden, Chief Executive, The Woodland Trust, Autumn Park, Grantham, Lincs NG31 6LL, or e-mail enquiries@woodlandtrust.org.uk

ROGER MILES,

Upper Culver Road, St Albans.

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