A new tree-lined trail dedicated to showcasing nearly every British tree has been opened up to visitors at Gedling Country Park.
A new trail, complete with handcrafted wooden sculptures, is thought to be the largest trail of its kind and features 50 native British trees, selected for the site by The Friends of Gedling Country Park group.
The trail, named the ‘near’ route, follows a circular 1.4km (0.87 miles) wheelchair accessible and pushchair friendly footpath.
Work is already underway on the ‘far’ route, which takes a more challenging 2.7km (1.68 miles) trail further into the park and will feature an additional 25 trees, with the route expected to be ready this autumn.
The trails were named ‘near’ and ‘far’ after coal seams in the area dating back to 1630, honouring the mining heritage of the site.
In total, over 50 trees and accompanying signposts were dug-in by Gedling Borough Council park rangers, with help from the Friends of Gedling Country Park, volunteers and students from Brackenhurst College.
Along the trail, each tree has a sign with the tree’s common name, its Latin name and a QR code linking to the Friends of Gedling Country Park’s website for more information.
A leaflet featuring a map and information about each tree, is also available from Café 1899 near to the main entrance of the park.
The two wooden sculptures, which are both over two metres high, have been designed by local artist Peter Leadbeater. He also created the nature trail sculptures that are already situated around the park. One of the sculptures is a large totem and marks the start of the tree trail, the second carving shows the wildlife which can be found on Gedling Country Park and features a barn owl, bees, butterflies, frog, kestrel, moorhen, newt, frog and squirrel.
The Friends of Gedling Country Park developed the idea and Gedling Borough Council jointly commissioned the trail. It is also largely funded using Co-op Local Community Funds, following a successful application process by Sarah Benedek, a community fundraiser who has, over the last five years, successfully applied for over £90k from various bodies for projects on behalf of the Friends within Gedling Country Park.
Helen Aplin, who managed the project on behalf of the Friends of Gedling Country Park said: “We wanted to create something unique for Gedling and Nottinghamshire that focussed on nature. The Friends had various conversations about what might work and this was something we all agreed on. It focusses on the things we hold dear – nature conservation, native species and education.”
Councillor Peter Barnes, portfolio holder for Environment, said: “This British native tree trail is fantastic, we’re so proud to have this on our doorstep. A priority for the council is to enhance our existing parks and open spaces and this latest addition to Gedling Country Park is just one of the many reasons for visitors to come and see what the park has to offer.
“With the trail being the largest of its kind, it will be a draw for people interested in trees and ecology, as well as families who want to educate their children about British nature and wildlife while enjoying some exercise.”
Additional tree planting on the ‘far’ route will happen in autumn, as this is the best time to plant trees in order to ensure a higher chance of survival.