As we move into 2024, it’s time to think about new goals and activities. The team behind Great Avon Wood is calling for a record number of volunteers to help plant a whopping 16,000 trees this winter. Time spent outdoors is shown to improve mental and physical well being, giving a great reason to volunteer and be part of this large-scale project to expand the Forest of Avon, the region’s community forest.

Last winter, teams of hard-working, local volunteers planted 6,500 trees in just seven weeks at Great Avon Wood, the new 100-acre woodland just north of Pensford.

Charities Forest of Avon Trust and Avon Needs Trees have jointly purchased the land for this groundbreaking woodland creation project. Volunteers are helping to plant and care for over 40,000 trees supplied by the Woodland Trust.

Avon Needs Trees CEO Dave Wood said: “We were quite simply blown away by the response to the Great Avon Wood project last year. Hundreds of volunteers signed up to our tree planting days within just two weeks of announcing the project. This year our ambitions are even greater and we need everyone’s help to reach our target and create this incredible local woodland.

It’s a really great day out and our volunteers often talk of how much they feel a sense of achievement after a day of planting. I encourage everyone to get involved and join our growing community.”

The team behind Great Avon Wood is on a mission to create permanent woodland in the West of England where there’s just 8%[1] woodland cover compared with a Europe wide average of 38%[2].

Alex Stone, Chief Executive of the Forest of Avon community forest explained: “A lot of what we are doing is about restoring trees back where they were many years ago and this site is full of history and heritage. Planting and caring for our region’s trees helps clean and cool our air, reduces flooding and provides a home for declining species of birds, bugs and fungi.

“This planting season is our biggest yet! Meeting new people outdoors and creating new woodland must be one of the most satisfying ways to kick off 2024, so we’d like to welcome you to come along and get stuck in!”

Volunteers can watch a three minute film about the project, register to volunteer and donate to the Great Avon Wood Fund by going to Great Avon Wood

Businesses are also encouraged to get in touch about tree planting via Business Supporters

Funding for Great Avon Wood has come from Defra’s Trees for Climate programme, the West of England Authority’s Green Recovery Fund, and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Mayor Dan Norris called for more volunteers to step forward to help plant the 16,000 trees at Great Avon Wood trees this winter. He said: “New Year’s Resolution - more trees please! I’m proud that a bumper cash injection from the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority I lead has helped set the stage for the 100-acre Great Avon Wood, working closely with Avon Needs Trees and the Forest of Avon Trust.

“I thank each and every volunteer who came forward to help us start planting Great Avon Wood. But we need to go further. So my message is – please get your boots on and come and get involved in all the planting opportunities at Great Avon Wood this winter.

“Because the West of England will need more woodland areas as we aim to cut emissions at pace, I’m backing tree-mendous tree-planting projects like Great Avon Wood – the biggest new woodland on record in the West - which will really make our amazing region an even happier, healthier and more beautiful place to call home.”