Pre-school children, armed with spades, have helped to plant the first of 150 native trees that will form a new tree corridor at Wild Place Project.
It’s all in aid of National Tree Week - a nationwide annual tree celebration which sees local communities coming together to launch the start of the winter tree planting season.
Nine children from Abbeywood Tots Day Care Nursery, in Filton, were invited to Wild Place Project to help gardens’ supervisor, Andrew Harrison, plant around 20 saplings, which included Hawthorn, European ash, field maple, black alder and the ever-popular traditional oak.
Once established, the trees, which will cover an area of more than 1,800 square metres, will lead visitors towards the wildlife park’s exciting new Bear Wood exhibit, due to open in summer 2019.
The corridor will be planted in phases and should be complete in the early New Year. It will link existing ancient woodland to established semi-natural woodland elsewhere on the site.
Rebecca Cole, exhibit development manager, said: “This new wood will be a mixture of trees reflecting what is found in ancient woodlands and will be a continuation of the story we are telling in Bear Wood.
“In Bear Wood, aside from the bears, lynx, wolves and wolverine, people will be able to follow a raised walkway through the ancient woods, learn what we have lost in so many areas of the country and then walk out to see this new wooded area and what can be done for the future.
“People will be able to see what it looks like now and how it will look in 10 or 20 years ‘time. We hope seeing the new trees planted will encourage people to plant native species themselves.”
Rebecca said it was important to plant trees native to this country because they help attract small mammals and insects that struggle with habitat loss.
The team of horticultural experts at Wild Place Project look after more than 130 acres of countryside including around 45 acres of woodlands and plant dozens of trees across the site each year.
But this new woodland will be the first entirely new area of trees that has been planted at the wildlife park in years.
Rebecca said: “It’s an example of what can be done and what we can all do for woodlands and we are delighted to be marking National Tree Week in this way.”
Bear Wood is being built by Bristol-based Dribuild and is due to open next summer. It will include bears, lynx, wolves and wolverine living in the historic Wild Place Project woods for the first time in hundreds of years.