Bear Wood: From Acorns to Saplings!

A small oak sapling photographed against a backdrop of a hawthorn hedge.

One of our young 'oaklings', growing healthily.

Between October 2022 and January 2023 we handed out over 700 heritage acorns to supporters of the Bear Wood project. These were not only a thank you present, but will form the lion's share of the young trees in Bear Wood, forging a connection between the past, present, and future.

Have the acorns sprouted well?

The acorns the Wytham Woods Team planted are growing well, and we'd love to see how your oaklings are getting on! Now that the danger of being eaten by squirrels and birds has passed, the greatest risk is that they will dry out during these hot summer days, so make sure to give them plenty of water and keep them in the shade where possible. Share your photos with us on social media using the hashtag #WythamAcorn, or by email.

A landscape photograph showing the site to be planted: a field dotted around with scrub, under a grey sky.

The Bear Wood site is currently neglected rank grassland which will be turned into new woodland with an emphasis on biodiversity.

How is the project developing?

Back in April the Woods team visited the Bear Wood site to assess how much work needs to be done to prepare the land for planting in winter 2024. Mature hawthorn trees currently growing here will provide key structural elements, a great head start for the new woodland. The scrub and overgrown paths will be cleared, and areas mown to designate the planting 'neighbourhoods'. While we do not plan to mark each tree individually, you will know which neighbourhood your tree is in, allowing you to come back and visit it in years to come!

We are working on producing some maps of the new area, to help you share our vision for the site. When the forestry team start work on ground preparation later in the year we will install some temporary interpretation panels to explain what is happening. As with many conservation projects, the site may well appear worse before it looks better.

How are the larger saplings being looked after?

In addition to asking for donations to the project, we also gave you the option of purchasing a larger oakling for Bear Wood. Like our home-grown saplings, these oaklings were grown from acorns gathered from some of the oldest oak trees in the country. They are in the charge of a local tree nursery where they are receiving round-the-clock care and attention. When the time comes for them to be planted, you will be invited to plant your tree yourself, with our assistance.

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01865 614460

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