A new wood, planted by the Woodland Trust on the doorstep of an urban community, is paying a “magnificent” tribute to Her Majesty The Queen for her Platinum Jubilee.

Sandhills Wood, on the fringes of the ancient Hainault Forest in East London which has royal links dating back more than 1,000 years, is the latest site to be announced by the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity as part of its mission to plant new, 70 acre-woods across the UK.

The new trees are part of The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) - a unique tree-planting initiative which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee” to create a legacy in honour of The Queen’s 70 years on the throne.

Woodland Trust ambassador Julie Acton said: “Sandhills will be a green and vibrant oasis for the people of East London. It’s a treasure to be enjoyed by all and a magnificent tribute to Her Majesty’s reign.

“The new woodland is an ideal legacy. People of all ages and from all walks of life have helped to plant trees and can now enjoy watching them grow into a thriving haven for people and nature.

“We hope other landowners will be inspired to follow suit and create much-needed new woodlands across the UK.”

Hainault’s own regal pedigree is impeccable having been a favoured royal hunting forest providing venison for the King’s table since the 11th century.

Its new woodland neighbour is helping buffer and protect the historic and incredibly precious ancient wood for future generations of people and wildlife, as well as giving the local community a new haven to visit and enjoy, free of charge whenever they choose.

The Woodland Trust works in partnership with the London Borough of Redbridge and Vision RCL at Hainault Forest, taking a joined-up approach to looking after its unique habitats, and providing an inspiring and welcoming place for visitors to explore.

Planting on the new wood started in late November 2021 and was completed just over two weeks later, with more than 10,000 trees planted by almost 1,000 people during National Tree Week.

Hainault development officer George Lewis said Sandhills “promises to be a real asset for the community and wildlife”.

“The tree planting was such an inspiring fortnight of events,” he added. “We had people from all corners of London come out in support.

“The enthusiasm of a wonderful mix of community groups was incredible; we were trying to slow everyone down rather than worrying about planting all the trees!

“Many of those involved had never before had the opportunity to explore green spaces beyond their local park.

“Young people are the future of conservation, and I am sure we made lots of new and important connections to the forest.”

Dr Darren Moorcroft, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said the new planting will help boost the Trust’s long-term mass-scale woodland creation aims and fight the climate and nature crisis. “New woods like these are essential for people and the planet,” he added.

“Although trees are proven to fight climate change, boost biodiversity and make us healthier and happier, woodland cover in the UK is still among the lowest in Europe and access to woodland for urban communities like London is getting harder, not easier.

"We must all step up to change that.”

QGC chief executive Dan Rex said: “Sandhills Wood is a really exciting and special contribution to The Queen’s Green Canopy that will be valued and enjoyed by Londoners for generations to come.

“We are delighted to be partnered with the Woodland Trust in the delivery of urban greening projects which will have a significant environmental and social impact on local communities.”

With a focus on planting sustainably, the QGC is encouraging everyone to play their part to enhance our environment by getting trees in the ground during planting seasons this year. The Woodland Trust is a leading delivery partner of The Queen's Green Canopy.

As well as the new woods being created across the UK, schools and community groups are able to apply for free saplings in tree packs through the Woodland Trust’s free trees for schools and communities scheme.

If you would like to get involved in the Woodland Trust’s Platinum Jubilee Woods initiative, find out more at woodlandtrust.org.uk/QGCwoods

Notes to editors

For more information please contact the Woodland Trust press office on 01476 602993, or email media@woodlandtrust.org.uk or owenphillips@woodlandtrust.org.uk

For more information on The Queen’s Green Canopy contact Marnie Gaffney on 07793 266675, or email press@queensgreencanopy.org

The Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK with more than 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims:

  1. protect ancient woodland, which is rare, unique and irreplaceable
  2. restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life
  3. establish native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 29,000 hectares. Access to its woods is free so everyone can benefit from woods and trees.

Hainault Forest

Hainault Forest is one of the few remaining sections of the former Forest of Essex, which had its origins in the forest that covered much of Britain after the ice age.

From the 11th century it formed part of the royal hunting forests and is thought to have been declared a specially protected forest by Henry I sometime in the 1130s.

The Woodland Trust and London Borough of Redbridge are working in partnership, alongside Vision RCL, to create an inspiring and welcoming Hainault Forest, for now and for the future. Located on the outskirts of East London, we’re working hard to ensure the valuable wildlife and habitats of the forest are protected. We’re creating a space for people – both local and from further afield - to connect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors, supported by reinvigorated facilities for learning, recreation, play and events.

Free trees for schools and communities

The Woodland Trust is giving away hundreds of thousands of trees to schools and communities to make sure everybody in the UK has the chance to plant a tree.

To apply, or see terms and conditions, visit: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/schools-and-communities/

The free tree packs have been generously funded by lead partners: Sainsbury's, Lloyds Bank, Ovo Energy, DFS, Joules, Bank of Scotland and Sofology.

Platinum Jubilee Woods will be registered on the online Queen’s Green Canopy map and landowners can mark the site with a special QGC plaque. New plantings may also be eligible for the Trust’s woodland carbon scheme and associated financial support.

The Queen’s Green Canopy

The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.

Everyone from individuals to Scout and Girlguiding groups, villages, cities, counties, schools and corporates will be encouraged to play their part to enhance our environment by planting trees during the official planting season between October and March. Tree planting will commence again in October 2022, through to the end of the Jubilee year.

The Queen’s Green Canopy: queensgreencanopy.org