Planting to start at Heartwood Forest near Sandridge

PUBLISHED: 14:33 21 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 06 May 2010

Planting can begin at the new Heartwood Forest after the project got the green light from the Forestry Commission. Planting plans for the Woodland Trust scheme for the 850-acre site which already contains some ancient woodland but is mostly arable farmlan

Planting can begin at the new Heartwood Forest after the project got the green light from the Forestry Commission.

Planting plans for the Woodland Trust scheme for the 850-acre site which already contains some ancient woodland but is mostly arable farmland, have now been approved.

The Forestry Commission gave its consent to a detailed environment statement submitted in August examining the site archaeology, wildlife, impact on the local population, access, education and the involvement of people in the creation of the forest.

The purchase of the land, which was subsequently named Heartwood Forest, was announced by the Woodland Trust in July last year.

It prompted an ongoing £8.5 million fund-raising campaign to buy, plant and manage the site.

Heartwood will be the Woodland Trust's largest site in England and it will provide accessible green space for more than 250,000 people, provide links with schools and colleges and tree planting opportunities for children and community groups.

Toby Bancroft, project manager for Heartwood, said: "It's just brilliant news that we can now get on with this amazing project. Our environment statement consent by the Forestry Commission was a culmination of comments, opinions and consideration of issues raised with the local population and a wide range of organisations to help shape proposals.

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