The Woodland Trust
In March, 2011, a small number of people from each region, who had been members of the Woodland Trust for many years, were invited to join guided visits to two contrasting Woodland Trust sites.
After a briefing, we were taken to Wheeldon Copse, near Frodsham, Cheshire. The site was acquired with the help of a substantial legacy and was planted in November, 2003, with approximately 6000 broadleaf trees.
Before planting the trees, the ground was deep ploughed and seeded with a wildflower mix to suppress weeds without chemicals, as part of a pioneering experiment called 'Flowers of the Forest' with Landlife, the national wildlife charity. The wild flowers were much appreciated by the local population, who turned up in great numbers with cameras!
Unfortunately, the weather was cold and wet, but there was plenty to see.
Next, we went to Long Acre Wood, a mixture of ancient semi-natural woodland and new planting, within the River Weaver valley. Long Acre Wood contains numerous broadleaf species, including oak, ash, sycamore, wych elm and horse chestnut. There were big patches of blackthorn, wood anemone and hazel catkins. The fallen tree is still alive and well.
After lunch, the guides answered our questions and told us all about the work of the Woodland Trust, a registered charity.
The Trust uses money from membership, donations, sponsorship and legacies to fund saving and protecting ancient woodland, planting trees, creating new woods, recording ancient trees and supporting woodland projects. Volunteers help to plant young trees and patrol woodland. Woodland Trust sites are free to visit and many people go to their local woods regularly - to walk their dog, stretch their legs, look for wildlife with their children or watch the seasons unfolding.
It was pointed out that leaving a bequest to charities such as The Woodland Trust can reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax payable, which is of benefit to both the heirs and the charities. This is something worthwhile to consider when drafting a will.