Ruddington’s ‘Final Flourish’ for The Queen’s Green Canopy!

As the extended deadline for planting trees to be part of ‘The Queen’s Green Canopy’ (QGC) draws near, a community voluntary group has revealed it’s about to put in what it believes will be the longest row of trees in our village so far in memory of Her Majesty.

Brookside Residents’ Action Group (BRAG) for The QGC says it will plant over a hundred trees running between the boundary of existing homes and Ruddington’s new ‘Fairham Green’ development off Wilford Road (as shown above). It’s after the project was given both the necessary permission and funding from the house builder to achieve this collaborative ‘green corridor’.

Bloor Homes East Midlands gave BRAG the go-ahead to plant a row of trees on a 223-metre long strip of wasteland which would otherwise have been left ’empty’ after its housing development was completed. A Bloor spokesperson said: “We definitely would like to collaborate in a joint project. Unfortunately, due to planning we’re unable to facilitate the planting of the trees on the southern border of the development. However, we will be able to contribute to this fantastic cause.”

Residents along Brookside Road and Brookside Gardens agreed last year to organise the tree planting in time to be part of The QGC. Then, this month, Bloor funded the purchase of 106 trees.

BRAG’s volunteer lead recalled: “Plant a tree to be part of The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative seemed to be a timely godsend. The QGC arose after planning permission was granted to build on the neighbouring Green Belt which was a national flood plain. The impact is huge, both on the environment and the wellbeing of villagers. We knew the importance of this Green Belt so, with its loss, a positive way forward to achieve a net gain for nature was to join The Queen’s Green Canopy. Also Plant Britain was on my radar to organise tree planting, on a large scale, to absorb carbon dioxide and additionally these new trees should help with the risk of future flooding.”

BRAG says its research first started at The Woodland Trust – a partner of The QGC – as the group shortlisted suitable trees to form a proper canopy or row of trees (rather than a hedge) and also with Rushcliffe Borough Council to comply with guidelines about planting in our village: “We are grateful for the support from everyone we liaised with about BRAG for the QGC; our Ruddington Borough Councillors, RBC Officers, local Parish Council, Ruddington Tree Warden who is part of the local Wildlife Trust, village-based horticulturists and gardeners, Mayor of Rushcliffe, and our MP for Rushcliffe. We’ve even written to His Majesty The King!”

Now the residents’ wait is over! BRAG says it looks forward to creating a green vista to increase the biodiversity after Bloor gave the go-ahead for the trees to be ordered. Neighbours will start to plant the first few potted dwarf hornbeam trees to ensure they join The QGC Map by The King’s extended deadline at the end of this month (31st March 2023).  Currently labour-intensive work on ground clearing has begun by BRAG volunteers – who are aged from under 1 to over 90.

First to get their gardening gloves on were John and Jackie: “We’ve been waiting and waiting this year for the developer to start erecting its boundary fence for us to then plant the row of trees on the other side of it. Fencing would mean them clearing the ground area to get the fence in which would have helped us. But we learned this month that Bloor could not give exact timings for their fencing so, given The QGC deadline, we needed to get on and pleased to have made a start with clearing weeds at the back of our neighbours – which wasn’t as bad as we thought! The idea is we’d all clear the strip or ‘void’ as Bloor calls it at the back of our gardens and help those who are unable to. Next time we’ll be at a neighbour who is housebound and elderly.”

Brookside Gardens resident Cath and her sons went out on Mothering Sunday. She says: “We began clearing the space along the Bloor’s development in order to plant trees for The Queen’s Green Canopy. It’s great to have a chance to create a green space for the environment and wildlife.”

A long-term resident on Brookside Road, who was born in Ruddington, reflects: “This was a lovely stretch to walk along and a great place for wildlife. The QGC row of trees will provide a much needed green-screen between existing and new houses and help to mitigate the potential flood risk which we are all concerned about.”

Amy is the third generation living in the area and is a mum of two: “Ruddington is a place for families, and we want to achieve a nice green legacy for future generations. I hope we can create space to support the wildlife in the area, to enable balance with preservation and progression around the new build area, so Ruddington is still seen as a green space to live in and for it to continue to hold the quaintness of rural village life. The hundred plus trees will make a real difference that young and old can be involved with – I’ll be strapping my baby to me when pre-planting!”

BRAG contacted Mick Thorpe, a Ruddington horticulturist and landscape specialist, to offer his expert opinion on planting in the long and narrow strip. He welcomes the QGC tree planting as a great example of ‘people power’ making an environmental difference and says he’s happy to advise residents: “Make a start to be counted in The Queen’s Green Canopy is a priority now. Volunteers will need to tackle the weeds first, then rake over. When plants are in, we can put a mulch ring tree protective mat around each one to help supress the weeds.”

As can be seen, there are blue pegs marking the ground where the permanent boundary fence should be erected. However Mick is concerned about exactly where the fence will go: “There really should be a 2-metre ‘Wildlife Corridor’ here and examples can be seen at other new Ruddington housing sites, also built on former Green Belt, so a precedent has been set” he says.

BRAG has put a ‘royal call-out’ for village volunteers to help them clear and plant, from Artex Limited to Reverend Andrew Buchanan at St Peter’s Church. “We’ll be proud that the long row of trees we’ll be planting between our back gardens and new homes will be part of The Queen’s Green Canopy. The final stage will be to mark it with the official QGC plaque.”

‘The Queen’s Green Canopy’ Patron is King Charles III, who extended the initiative in memory of his late mother. When The QGC was launched he said: “Planting a tree is a statement of hope and faith in the future.”

The Queen and Prince Charles planting a tree at Windsor Castle. {Photo courtesy of}

This latest mass tree planting, by BRAG volunteers, sees the culmination of a number of QGC initiatives in Ruddington, organised by the Parish Council, village businesses and individuals. You can view the official QGC Map >>HERE<<.

{Top aerial image courtesy of Google Maps circa 2022}

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