The North Devon Link Road, A361 - Credit: Lewis Clarke

OPINION: Take part in the Queen's Green Canopy - David Worden

David Worden

As I travel around North Devon I see large areas where many trees have been cut down. Some have been removed because of road improvements or new developments e.g. along the North Devon link road between South Molton and Barnstaple.

Others have been felled for logs and have denuded many of our hillsides. Fortunately, the Queen’s Green Canopy and other schemes have resulted in the planting of many saplings which will help to replace those which have been cut down.

It is Queen Elizabeth II’s request that to mark her 70 years on the throne, individuals and communities create a ‘special gift’ by planting trees with a view to increase and protect the native tree cover.

With a focus on planting sustainably, the Queen’s Green Canopy will create a legacy in honour of Her Majesty which will benefit future generations and help to protect our beautiful environment.

Earlier this year I attended an event at the Quince Honey Farm in South Molton where their head gardener and silviculturist, Pip Howard presented an interesting talk highlighting just how extraordinary trees are and how important they are to us.

He explained that Devon is renowned internationally for its trees and woodlands, because we have many ancient specimens as well as collections of rare trees from around the world. We were shown photos of some of Devon’s trees which have stood for over a thousand years.

To me it is exciting that Quince Honey Farm has planted the first ‘Bee Specific Arboretum’ in the world along with over 7000 trees to help continue the legacy of Devon’s rich arboreal landscape.

At a time when we are becoming more conscious of global warming, trees are vital for our environment particularly as they help combat climate change.

I am informed that amazingly a mature tree can absorb up to 150kg of CO2 a year. UK Green spaces remove up to 1.3 billion kg of air pollutants each year and well-placed trees can help cool the air between 2 and 8 degrees in urban communities.

As you know we are celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year. To mark this special event residents across the United Kingdom have been invited to ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’.

The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative which is in two phases. It began last autumn with planting up to the end of March this year. Phase two will start when the tree planting season begins again in October and will continue to the end of the Jubilee year.

The Vice Lord Lieutenant of Devon, Lady Arran, of Castle Hill, Filleigh has been working hard to encourage individuals, youth groups, villages and towns to get as much of Devon as possible covered with native, broad-leaved, deciduous trees, as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy.

Future generations will be able to enjoy the beauty of these trees for many years to come.

As part of the Jubilee celebrations, NDC has already planted 70 fruit trees across four parks in the North Devon Council area.

These are in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and South Molton. Later in the year, we are making plans to extend a popular community woodland by planting 25,000 trees on the outskirts of Barnstaple.

Many towns and parishes are also doing their part, for example, South Molton has planted sixteen small-leaved limes on the four entry compass points of the town.

They will be a great favourite with the bees. Later in the year an extension to the Community Woodlands is being planned.

Braunton parish has already planted 250 trees and many other projects are taking place throughout North Devon.

In addition, Devon County Council, Devon Wildlife Trust, the Woodland Trust and others are providing practical advice and support to private landowners, community groups, schools, town and parish councils and others to help them to get involved in tree initiatives.

If you wish to get information about the QGC please have a look at the website