Plans to increase tree cover to capture carbon and enhance the environment in north Oxfordshire have received a boost with news of a £43,600 funding win.

Cherwell District Council has secured the money from the government’s Coronation Living Heritage Fund.

It will create a “tiny forest” at Longford Park in Banbury and a community orchard at Burnehyll Community Woodland in Chesterton near Bicester.

Councillor Andrew McHugh, portfolio holder for cleaner and greener communities, said: “We are ambitious to increase tree cover and improve the quality of green spaces in Cherwell district.

READ MORE: Church bell ringing contest attracts ITV cameras

“These successful funding bids demonstrate our commitment to making this a reality.

“We know that access to biodiverse green spaces is good for people’s mental and physical wellbeing, while healthy woodlands are also an element of our response to the climate emergency.

“We have chosen both these sites in a strategic way so that we maximise not only the environmental benefits but also the opportunities to engage with community groups and schools who we know are passionate about tree planting and biodiversity.

“Ongoing council support is built into both programmes to ensure that the two schemes benefit from help with contracts and specialist technical advice. I can’t wait to see these two woodland projects come to fruition in the coming years.”

At Burnehyll, the orchard will be part of an ongoing community woodland project led by Friends of Burnehyll Community Woodland.

This well-established group has ongoing practical support from the council.

The Friends intend that the orchard will allow householders and visitors to connect with nature and harvest fruit as a social activity.

The site at Longford Park is former agricultural land. The plans will include shrub and canopy layers and link into existing hedgerows to support wildlife corridors. The council will work with an experienced contractor to plant the trees.

At both sites, the project plans and funding reportedly account for ongoing maintenance to ensure the new trees are well cared for and become successfully established.

The Coronation Living Heritage Fund was opened in August.

The £2.5 million fund pot will support local tree planting initiatives to commemorate the coronation of King Charles III.

A spokesperson for the Forestry Commission said: “This is a great opportunity for tree planting close to where people live across England.

“We will see more trees being planted outside woodlands through the creation of micro woodlands in urban areas and new community orchards.

“This fund will be supported by £2.5 million in funding made available through Defra’s £750 million Nature for Climate Fund.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing:

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1