Reprinted from Newsletter 98, dated 2001 January–February

27,000th tree planted in December

Ian Rands

The planting season was late arriving this winter, but we had plenty to do in October and November. Many of the apple-tree ties and spacers which we have used over the past few years have not been up to the job, so we have spent many Wednesdays and Saturdays removing guards and cutting off suckers, replacing ties, spacers and blocks, reshaping cattleguards, painting injured trees where the wind has caused chafing against stake or guard — and all this on 200 trees within sight of the Tor.

Once the leaves had fallen, we set about our winter planting programme: 800 forest trees behind the house of Burns the Bread at West Pennard. November 25, a Saturday, was a pink-letter day, with the second highest turnout of volunteers: 11 people. (The highest was 14, three years ago.) One of our diggers was Lars Hoffmann from Göttingen in Germany, another one “John” from Bristol, and Tom Tripp from East Pennard, who started planting with us many years ago when he was barely taller than a spade. We completed that site on December 16.

It was at the West Pennard site on December 9 that we reached our 27,000th tree since planting began. We marked the occasion with a red oak, and the local newspaper was kind enough to report upon us and add a colour photograph which you may have seen.

And then what did they do, I hear you ask. January 17: we planted 52 fruit trees at the Chalice Well. February 14, Valentine’s Day: 30 apple trees with the National Trust on the southern slopes of the Tor — scarlet and green Bramleys and Blenheim orange.

In early March we shall plant some more traditional standard cider-apple trees (Kingston Black, Bulmer’s Norman and Yarlington Mill) below the Tor along Cinnamon Lane. Please come and join us. Give me a ring on 85 0509.

Kingfisher adopts pond

One of our society’s members, who started tree-planting with us about eight years ago, has had most marvellous results in one of his other schemes. It’s what they call these days in advertising jargon “a with also plus added additional bonus extra and more!”

He reorganized and enlarged a pond, added bullrushes and so on, and of course some trees around. His hard work and expense have been rewarded by the arrival of a kingfisher. He now awaits the second to make a pair.

What a thrill.