History of Theydon Bois

The Buddhist religious order, Fo Guang Shan, paid for and planted 4,500 trees at Theydon Bois (Photo: Douglas Blanks / WTML)

The site was acquired by the Woodland Trust in 2006 as part of the ‘Tree for All’ project, and was planted with mixed native broadleaf species between 2006 and 2009 with the help of local community groups. Essex County Council paid for 30,000 trees, and the Buddhist religious order, Fo Guang Shan, paid for and planted 4,500 trees.

In 2009, the Booker Prize judges planted an oak avenue. The planting symbolised the replenishment of trees felled to produce the novels submitted for the prize. Local school children also planted a new orchard of 45 trees.

In 2013, an earth-formation artwork was created with a £45,000 grant from environmental organisation, Greenarc. Artists from across the UK were invited to submit ideas, with Richard Harris being chosen to produce the final design. It was inspired by tree seeds and has been constructed entirely from soil from the site itself, shaped into concentric seed-shaped mounds. The 130-metre (427-foot) long and 3-metre (10-foot) high earthwork is visible from the M11 motorway. Visitors can explore the artwork on a series of paths, which have been lined with new planting.