Head Forester Stephen, Chief Executive Beth Brook, and three school children all holding spades stand around an English oak tree sapling in a hole in the ground. They are all looking at the camera and smiling.

2 millionth tree planted in the Heart of England Forest

10 March 2022

A group of young pupils from Mappleborough Green C of E Primary School enjoyed the opportunity to be part of a landmark moment for the Heart of England Forest as they helped plant their 2 millionth tree. 

A landmark moment

Planted on the charity’s new site at Gorcott Hill, near Redditch, the tree represents a huge milestone in the Heart of England Forest’s mission to create and conserve a 30,000-acre forest for the benefit of the environment, people and wildlife.

Established in 1996, the Forest has grown to cover over 7,000 acres of land stretching up the Warwickshire / Worcestershire border, from the present-day borders of Shakespeare’s Forest of Arden, across the ancient Forest of Feckenham, and down to the edge of the Vale of Evesham – the north Cotswolds to south Birmingham.

In the 26 years since the first tree was planted, the natural world has changed beyond measure and the challenges of the climate crisis, pollution and biodiversity loss have become increasingly urgent, which is why the charity’s work to protect and enhance the natural world is more important now than ever.

Large group of school pupils with school staff and members of the Forest team cheering with their hands in the air, standing behind the newly planted 2 millionth tree

Creating a greener future

It is particularly fitting that pupils from a local primary school were invited to plant the 2 millionth tree at Gorcott Hill, as the site is set to become home to the charity’s Future Forest Guardians programme, which aims to engage young people from diverse backgrounds with hands on experiences in nature to help foster lifelong connections with the natural world. 

Beth Brook, Chief Executive, said: “Today’s tree planting event was a special moment in the history of the charity, not just because it represents the huge progress we have made towards our goals, but because we were able to share it with some of the young people who remind us why the work we are doing is so vital.

Our pledge is that by the time these schoolchildren and the trees we plant today reach maturity, we will have created a forest that is at the heart of a greener, cleaner and more diverse natural world in this community."

"We believe that every tree we plant today or acre of land we add tomorrow can make a genuine difference to the future of society and our planet.”
Beth Brook, Chief Executive, The Heart of England Forest
Beth Brook, Chief Executive, stood outdoors in the Forest holding a supporter magazine, speaking to people gathered at the 2 millionth tree planting

The pupils taking part in the tree planting are already engaged in a progressive programme of Forest learning that sees them visit the Forest each half term for outdoor lessons that cover the curriculum and include english, maths, science and geography – all at the same time learning the value of trees and the forest to wildlife and people.  

Pupils from Mappleborough Green have been working with the learning and skills team at the Heart of England Forest for several years and are just one of a number of schools in the region to participate in regular outdoor learning in the Forest. 

Alexander Finch, Head Teacher, Mappleborough Green C of E Primary School said: “Our children and staff have hugely benefitted from their visits to the Heart of England Forest. The children relish playing and learning in the natural world, and experiencing the beautiful forest environment in all seasons and weathers has had a very positive impact on their wellbeing, as well as their academic attainment. Following the significant challenges of the last couple of years, these benefits have become even more apparent."

"The Heart of England Forest is an incredible resource to have on our doorstep and our children are the future custodians of the forest, consequently it is imperative that they get to visit the forest, learn about it and enjoy getting muddy in it, so they will continue to value it alongside future generations." 
Alex Finch, Headteacher, Mappleborough Green C of E Primary School
Three pupils shovelling mud into a hole to plant an English oak sapling with Head Forester Stephen

An ambitious vision

We are creating and conserving a magnificent 30,000 acre broadleaf forest for the benefit of the environment, wildlife and people. A place of enduring natural beauty, protected and secured for generations to come.

At just 23% of the way towards our 30,000 acre goal, we are already the largest new native broadleaf woodland in England. Discover more about our impact so far. 

An English oak tree sapling with a protective guard around it, the 2 millionth tree to be planted in the Forest, on a sunny winter afternoon