Millions of trees to be planted to stand for all those involved Today, the Woodland Trust launches its First World War Centenary Woods project which will see millions of trees planted across the UK and four flagship woods created – in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War.

In addition to the 1,000 acres of woodland created at these four Centenary Woods, there will be over 3 million free trees available to schools, community groups and youth groups for planting, and we hope that landowners and communities across the country will get involved to create hundreds of new woods containing millions of trees.

These symbolic trees and woods will transform the landscape into rich, vibrant and flourishing woodland and will stand proud as a lasting legacy for those who fought, those who lost their lives, and also for their loved ones on the home front who supported them from afar.

Today we are unveiling our aspiration to create the English Centenary Wood near Epsom but we have also identified woodland sites in Scotland, Wales and NI. We hope this 640 acre site (bigger than the Olympic park) will be the home to more than 200,000 trees. Members of the public will be able to dedicate trees to ancestors at the sites.

Karl Mitchell, Woodland Trust Project Director said: “The trees planted during the course of this £12 million project will stand for hundreds of years, providing a lasting tribute to all those involved in the First World War. We hope to see many thousands of people getting involved by planting their own tribute or dedicating trees in memory of loved ones.

“At a time when our woodland cover is so low compared to other countries, planting trees now is more important than ever. As well as representing enormous strength and bravery shown by the nation during the First World War, the trees that are planted during the course of the project will help strengthen our natural landscape, increasing its resilience to the threats posed by pests and diseases.”

The UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe with only 13% woodland cover compared to 44% across the rest of Europe. Trees and woods contribute to an improved landscape, enabling economic growth while creating a vibrant network of different habitats, leading to healthy, functioning ecosystems and places for people.

Sainsbury’s will be partnering the Woodland Trust to deliver Centenary Woods.

Justin King, Chief Executive at Sainsbury’s said: “Planting millions of trees and creating woodland in remembrance of the sacrifices made by all those involved in the First World War is a really fitting tribute by the Woodland Trust. I especially think of my late great grandfather Charles Robert Avery who was a Bombardier in the First World War and it is pleasing to know that I can ensure his contribution will be permanently remembered, along with many others.”

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