Heartwood Forest chosen as name for new Sandridge woodland site

PUBLISHED: 13:22 30 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:43 06 May 2010

HEARTWOOD Forest has been revealed as the name of the new native woodland to be created on land in Sandridge. The Woodland Trust announced the name of 850-acre site this morning (Thursday). The Trust bought the land at the beginning of the month but it

HEARTWOOD Forest has been revealed as the name of the new native woodland to be created on land in Sandridge.

The Woodland Trust announced the name of 850-acre site this morning (Thursday).

The Trust bought the land at the beginning of the month but it is still appealing for £8.5 million to fund the plantation of 600,000 trees and manage the growing forest for the next five years.

Heartwood Forest project manager Toby Bancroft installed new name signs around the site this morning.

He said: "It's fantastic to finally have a new name for the site. We opened up several pathways through Heartwood Forest across 170 acres as soon as we got the keys four weeks ago as the rest is still under cultivation. It will become available for public access at the rate of 70 hectares (170 acres) per year as tree planting progresses."

TV gardener and broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh knows the area well as he studied horticulture at nearby Oaklands College.

He said: "I was delighted to hear about the Woodland Trust's plans to create England's largest new native forest. I believe green spaces are incredibly important, for wildlife and for people and this is a wonderful opportunity for both. In particular, the community benefits will be tremendous - Heartwood Forest will be open to everyone and will hopefully become an inspiration for the millions of people living nearby."

He added: "People will also be able to get involved in every step of its creation - voicing views and ideas at public meetings, getting their hands dirty by helping to plant over half-a-million trees at the site and looking after those trees as they get established and flourish."

Alan added: "Our woodlands have been steadily disappearing for years, particularly in the post-war period due to pressures from industry and development, and much of Herts is now under renewed pressure for housing. It's fantastic to see the Woodland Trust making such a big commitment to turn the tide and plant much-needed new trees."

The new name was chosen from suggestions from Woodland Trust staff because it signifies the Trust's woodland creation work and the location of the new forest site.

These were:

* Heart combines 'Hert', for the location in Hertfordshire, and 'Hart' an old English word for stag - the symbol of the county.

* Small-leafed lime trees, such as those found in Heartwood Forest, have heart-shaped leaves. These trees are increasingly rare and a sure indicator of ancient woodland.

* Heartwood is a central hardwood core found in many broadleaved trees. As the tree ages, it is this hollowing heartwood which often supports hundreds of rare and threatened species of wildlife and helps it to survive for many years by recycling nutrients as it decays.

* The staff found it relevant to the organ of the Heart as trees are the life force of this planet. This new forest will be a much-needed lifeline for the UK's diminished native woodland. It will also be an outdoor space in which people can exercise and get closer to nature.

* The Trust said it hoped the new forest would be a green 'heart' at the centre of its woodland creation work - a thriving new habitat for wildlife for everyone to enjoy.

To donate to the project phone 0845 293 5858 or visit: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/heartwood

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