Reprinted from Newsletter 119, dated 2006 June

The dazzling glory of trees in bloom — 37,500 planted so far

Ian Rands

A black-and-white photograph of 14 people and a dog. All are white, and there are a mixture of men and women. All are dressed warmley. The stand and crouch in a field, some in front of and some behind a low fence which has a strand of barbed wire along its top. Eeach person looks at the camera. In the background part of a town can be seen.

Ian Rands (foreground) with his team of tree-planting stalwarts above Higher Wick Farm in March. They planted 876 hedgerow shrubs: from the stream at the bottom of Wick valley, south to the oak row planted on the ridge in 1993. And a Jubilee Wood has been planted in the field, where a wood is shown in the 1824 Tithe Map.

From left: Richard Montagu, Terry Carmen, Moyra Montagu, Hilde Senior, Alan Fear, Anne Carmen, Stuart Marsh, Debbie Fear, Bob Senior, John Matthews, Johanna van Fessem (kneeling), Ian Tucker and John Brunsdon with Tess. (Photo by Central Somerset Gazette)

Two records we have set this winter. One is to plant more trees than ever before (3,746), and the other is to attract more volunteers than ever before to come out digging: 14 on one of our gatherings.

Not all the same people come out each time we meet, but we get a good turnout from among the following members: John Brunsdon, Terry and Anne Carmen, Alan and Debbie Fear, Janet Morland, Adrian Pearse, Keith Matthews, Richard Raynsford, Andrew Bond, Nathan Pritchard, Horst and Shirley Elsebach, Phil and Su Ackerman, Derek Hankins, Stuart Marsh, Bob and Hilde Senior, Ian and Carol Tucker, John Matthews, Richard and Moyra and Andrew Montagu, Kevin Speakes, Peter from Glastonbury, Yohanna van Fessem from the Netherlands, and your correspondent.

May I offer my sincere thanks to all those who braved the wind, the wet and the cold, and to Anne Carmen, who fed and watered us — having lugged the commissariat arrangements often across country to the site. It is to these members we owe our financial standing, for they labour for free, and for the love of it.

And where did we find ourselves? Parbrook, East Pennard, West Bradley, Cinnamon Lane, Wick hill, Baltonsborough, Bushy Coombe.

May 15: Oh, see the blossom on our trees! There seem to be no patches of branch visible, for the trees are stuffed tight with flowers. Walk to the top of the Tor and look around. The glory is dazzling.

We have pushed our total of trees planted to 37,491. Of them 1,075 are standard fruit trees, most of them traditional Somerset cider-apple trees.

Cedar avenue

John Brunsdon

Butleigh parish council, through the local county councillor, Ken Maddock, has received £2,000 towards further care and replanting of the Cedar Walk. This was a project our society started and handed over after receiving a British Telecom award in 1991.

Best wishes to Ian Rands — he’ll be a hard act to follow

John Brunsdon

Ian Rands is back home after a short stay in Yeovil hospital. He has to take life at a slower pace and will hand over tree duties to Alan Fear in particular.

Other committee members feel they need to hand over their tasks as well, so now is your chance to be more actively involved with the society. The future of the society depends on a continuity of service and ideas. We need to have our reformed team in place by the next AGM.

Ian has been a huge achiever: 37,500 trees planted. It will be a hard act for Alan to follow, and he will need all our help.

Nathan Pritchard has shown a willingness to take over coordinating the footpath clearance, but again will need plenty of help. Ena Allen is giving up at the AGM as coordinator of newsletter delivery, and a successor must be found.

Many thanks to all who give time and effort to the society, especially to Ian, who will still be around to advise.

Please contact me (83 1283) if you wish to take on tasks for the society such as clearing footpaths, delivering newsletters or giving talks.