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An update from Heritage Trees

Back in December, we brought you the story of a new and ambitious project in Greater Manchester from Red Rose Forest called Heritage Trees.

The 4-year programme aspires to collect people’s stories, photographs and memories about their local trees, woodlands, orchards and hedgerows.

With focus areas in Manchester, Salford, Trafford, Wigan and Rochdale, the aim is to build up an online record of the city’s tree heritage and communicate the significance it brings to our society and culture.

Heritage Trees is part of a wider programme called City of Trees that will try and encourage the general public to engage with trees and woodlands in their area.

Red Rose Forest is expecting to work with many different groups across the lifetime of this project and has so far partnered with over 30 influential organisations including the BBC, Groundwork, The Conservation Volunteers, Rochdale MIND and at a local level, several primary and secondary schools.

To date, Heritage Trees has encompassed a variety of interesting activities and events, all designed to examine the relationship between people and trees and how we interact with them as: shelter, food, inspiration, a canvas for art, spiritual symbols, sources of wellbeing, building materials, medication, landscape and more.

At a recent Enchanted Forest day at Templemoor primary school in Sale, Red Rose Forest spent time with children, parents and staff, exploring the wonder of woodlands.

Their aim was to convey the magical enchantment of the forest through a series of fun, themed activities like creating owl puppets and tree goblins.

They also took the children on a nature trail through the woods and led a mystical storytelling session on woodland mythology followed by a fairy and goblin hunt.

The day was very effective in inspiring the children to engage and connect more with the natural world.

Other Heritage Trees project events so far include:

• Mindfulness walks with Rochdale MIND and Rochdale Rangers, using woodlands to promote wellbeing.
• Wild flower planting with infants from Abbey Hey primary school in Gorton – recorded by Cbeebies radio for their 'Let’s Go Club.'
• A foraging and fire workshop in Healey Dell, Rochdale. Red Rose worked with families to forage for wild food – the group then ate together around a campfire in the woods.
• A spoon carving workshop at Manchester Art Gallery with master craftsman, Duncan Goulder, aiming to teach beginners to use axes and knives to carve wooden spoons from sycamore.

"We are delighted with the work that has been done so far on our Heritage Trees project," said Lucy Holland, Engagement officer at Heritage Trees. "We've worked with new partners and new audiences, many of who have told us that they didn't think they were a 'tree person' before but now they've been captivated by their magic. A six year old even told me recently, 'trees are cool!'"

As part of the very first campaign under the Heritage Trees umbrella, Red Rose Forest needs your help!

They want people to get in touch with any unanswered questions, thoughts or queries about their local trees, woodlands, orchards and hedgerows.

The Red Rose Forest team will then work to answer your questions by consulting maps and delving into the history of the area. The aim is to encourage people to learn more about their local green spots and in doing so, form a deeper relationship with nature.

Here are some examples of the sort of questions you may want to ask:

• Why is Yew Tree Lane named as such when there is no yew tree in sight?
• Why does some wood have a particular name? E.g. Middlewood in Worsley? What was it in the middle of, if anything?
• Was there ever an orchard near my home?
• My local pub is called the Cotton Tree – where does this name come from?

One query, sent in already by someone in Sale, concerns a road close to Woodheys Primary School called Coppice Avenue.
On a circa 1900 map of the area you can see that two woodland plots sit on either side of where Coppice Avenue is today. It’s quite possible that the two woodland plots were used for coppicing, which may be how the road got its name!

If you have a burning question about your local tree heritage that needs answering, then please send it to Beth Kelsall, Technical Officer at Heritage Trees, at and the team will get back to you as soon as they can.

More information about Greater Manchester’s Heritage Trees can be found on the Red Rose Forest website