The first Surrey Hills Champions’ Tree Planting Day, held on Sunday 21st November at Clandon Wood Nature Reserve in West Clandon, kick-started the planting of many new trees and hedgerows within the Surrey Hills, supported by the community themselves.
The event, the first of its kind, was held as a celebration of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and of those local people who have pledged their support for a sustainable future for the region by signing up to become a Surrey Hills Champion.
The Surrey Hills Champions initiative was launched by Surrey Hills Enterprises in June this year as part of their work as a Community Interest Company that promotes, protects and enhances the Surrey Hills AONB, as a way for residents of the Surrey Hills to take a more active role in the protection, support and care for their environment and community. Part of the Surrey Hills Champions’ annual £25 subscription contributes to the planting of trees in the Surrey Hills, as well as giving them access to special offers with sustainable Surrey Hills businesses, exclusive events and updates.
The Champions’ Tree Planting Day, sponsored by Squires Garden Centres and EnterpriseM3, was the first special event held for Surrey Hills Champions, attended by 50 Champions, alongside Surrey Hills Enterprises’ Corporate Partners Charles Russell Speechlys, Azets, Citywide Financial and Lexus Guildford.
Starting the day with a welcome glass of Surrey Hills’ wine from Greyfriars Vineyard or beer from Binary Botanical in the stunning Glass Pavilion of Clandon Wood, Champions were treated to a delicious Surrey Hills lunch, prepared with produce from Hill House Farm, Dorking – all local businesses awarded the Surrey Hills Trademark, a mark of local quality, provenance and sustainability.
Following the lunch, the group then took the short walk to the tree planting site within the nature reserve, where Champions were guided to play their part in planting a new 50-metre long native hedgerow, the ideal habitat in which to support local wildlife and encourage nature recovery. Taking a shovel, Surrey Hills Champions were presented with a sapling to plant in the pre-prepared soil, aided by Surrey Hills Enterprises’ planting partners, the Surrey Hills Society, represented on the day by Gordon Jackson and Christa Emmett.
Commenting on the tree planting, Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres, said:
“We are so pleased to be a part of this fantastic initiative which supports and encourages nature recovery in the Surrey Hills. We all know how important hedgerows are to birds, insects, hedgehogs small mammals and a host of other living creatures as well as the carbon capture, a function they share with all plants. I would like to applaud Surrey Hills Enterprises and the Surrey Hills Society on this initiative, not just because planting hedges is a good thing to do, but also in the way they bring businesses, individuals and groups together.”
Once 300 saplings were successfully planted, the session concluded with a warming cup of tea or coffee and Surrey Hills’ cake from The Cookie Bar back in the beautiful Pavilion. Here, there was also the chance to meet some of the Surrey Hills’ most sustainable businesses in person and learn more about building a business successfully and sustainability within the Surrey Hills, particularly timely in light of the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
Following the Tree Planting Day, Wendy Varcoe MBE, Executive Director of Surrey Hills Enterprises, commented:
“It was wonderful and inspiring to see the Surrey Hills Champions gather for the very first tree planting event this weekend. With so many members of the community rolling up their sleeves and getting involved, pledging their support for the local area, we look forward to the event being the first of many, paving the way for a more sustainable future for the Surrey Hills.”
To find out more about becoming a Surrey Hills Champion, or how to buy a Champions subscription as a gift, visit: www.surreyhills.org/surreyhillschampion.