Ancient Wye woods gets jubilee honour

By Jake Chown  
Saturday 28th May 2022 6:00 am

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AN ANCIENT woodland in the Forest has been dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen as a celebration of her 70 years of service to the United Kingdom.

Lady Park Wood, which straddles the border between the Forest and Monmouthshire, has been named as part of a UK-wide network of 70 ancient woodlands - and a separate 70 ancient trees - to be dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II through Jubilee tree planting initiative The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC).

The QGC was setup last year to encourage groups and individuals to plant trees to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee alongside the dedications.

The Wye Valley woodland was chosen for the honour because of its national importance to conservation.

Others were selected because of their connection to a range of themes, including history, education, royalty, science, literature and arts, children, communities and health and wellbeing.

Also honoured locally was the “much-adored” ancient tree the Wyesham Oak, which is thought to have been growing since around 1095 - predating even Monmouth’s medieval Monnow Bridge.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who is patron of the QGC, announced the dedication in a recorded message earlier this month.

He said: “These working woodlands and magnificent trees span our nation’s amazing landscape and exist for everyone to enjoy.

“The Ancient woodlands and trees can be found in urban as well as rural environments, from National Parks to residential areas, representing the unique diversity of all corners of the United Kingdom.

“Trees and woodlands have a profound significance for us all – their steadfast and reassuring presence a reminder of our long serving Sovereign and her enduring dedication.

“Let us ensure that in her name we can now protect and strengthen this wonderful living Canopy for the next seventy years and, hopefully, way beyond.

“And, above all, let us ensure that future generations can celebrate and enjoy them.”

It is hoped the QGC will serve as “a legacy in honour of the Queen’s leadership of the nation” and provide benefit to future generations, while the dedications celebrate her 70 years of service.

Set on the banks of the Wye, Lady Park Wood is considered to be one of the most important sites for woodland research and conservation in the UK.

The site is an example of a “near-natural, purposefully unmanaged” woodland, and has been the subject of many long-term studies through comparisons with managed mixed broadleaf woodlands.

Having been purchased by the Crown in 1817, it was established as a nature reserve in 1944 by the Forestry Commission, which still manages it today.

It is part of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Upper Wye Gorge Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The wood can be accessed from the ‘Peregrine Path’ which runs from Symonds Yat East to Monmouth, and is located right next to Bilblins Bridge and campsite.

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