Man Booker Prize judges at Sandridge’s Heartwood Forest

JUDGES from the most prestigious literary prize in the UK put their books to one side this week to plant 13 hazel trees at the new Heartwood Forest in Sandridge.

For the third year running, the Man Booker Prize is collaborating with the Woodland Trust in a symbolic gesture to compensate for the trees felled in order to produce the 100-plus books submitted for the competition every year.

The judges from the 2010 prize, who included former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion and dancer Deborah Bull, planted the 13 trees at Heartwood as a living commemoration of the Booker Dozen – the 13 titles chosen for last year’s longlist from which Howard Jacobsen’s novel The Finkler Question was chosen as winner.

Ian Trewin, literary director of the Man Booker Prizes, who joined the judges, commented: “I’m delighted that for a third year the Man Booker judges have decided to put something back by planting new trees in the Heartwood Forest.”

n The last community tree-planting event of the spring at Heartwood is being held between 10am and 3pm this Saturday and the Woodland Trust needs as many volunteers as possible to reach its tree planting target.

120,000 trees need to be in the ground by the end of the spring planting season which will take the number of trees planted – entirely by volunteers – to 210,000 since November 2009.

Site manager Louise Neicho said: “We’ve already planted over 100,000 trees during this tree-planting season so with one final effort this weekend we can hopefully reach our target.”

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As there is no parking on site, park and ride will be available from St Albans Girls School in Sandridgebury Lane. Refreshments will be available to purchase and volunteers are asked to bring a spade if possible.