Villagers from Medbourne reached a milestone at the weekend when they planted their 5,000th tree in a wood created to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar.
Every year, for the past 11 years volunteers have been given free Woodland Trust tree packs to enable them to undertake the marathon task at the appropriately named Leviathan Wood on the Nevill Holt estate.
The first phase of the wood started in 2005 when Nevill Holt’s owner, David Ross, set aside 12 acres of land on the edge of the estate as part of a Woodland Trust project to create new woods named after warships of the Trafalgar fleet.
Since then the villagers have taken the wood to their hearts and year on year planted more trees.
Bryan Smith and his wife Laurie organise the planting days.
Mrs Smith said: “We are doing this for our children and our children’s children.
“Nature is in our blood, we’ve lived in the village most of our lives and we want to make sure there are trees for our children and grandchildren.
“Early on, when we were planting, my granddaughter, Erin, who was then a young child, picked up a leaf and put it by a tree and said to me ‘Grandma I shall know which tree I planted now!’
“She’s now 17 years old, and she’ll be there on Saturday too.
“There’s normally a group of us from the village, everyone from parents of children at the playgroup to new people who’ve moved into the village. Everyone turns up with their spade and we dig in.”
Mr Smith added: “The area around the wood is well used by the community; especially for dog walking. There are skylarks, barn owls, little owls and gold finches, it’s fantastic. There are also foxes, badgers and hares plus lots of wildflowers.
“The saplings, all British native broadleaf trees, were chosen to give all year round colour, and are part of the free tree packs for community groups available from the Woodland Trust.”
Leviathan was a ship which took part in the Battle of Trafalgar, hence the name Leviathan Wood.
For more information about the Woodland Trust go to www.woodlandtrust.org.uk