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SOMERSET: Jubilee Wood near A303

SOMERSET: Jubilee Wood near A303

Image: Daniel Mumby

A new wood with 7,000 trees could be planted near the A303 to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee.

A large number of events are planned throughout 2022 to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th year on the throne, culminating in an extended bank holiday weekend between June 2 and 5.

Councillor Linda Vijeh, who represents the Ilminster division on Somerset County Council, is working with community groups, businesses and local residents to secure a site near the town for the proposed ‘Jubilee Wood’.

This comes as the Queen’s Green Canopy project is launched, encouraging tree-planting across the UK in the run-up to the jubilee celebrations.

Ms Vijeh is working with the Green Ilminster group to plant 7,000 trees in the Jubilee Wood – one for every man, woman and child living in the Ilminster area.

She said: “In addition to enthusiastic volunteer planters, landowners are needed to give their permission for planting.

“In support of the project, I am in contact with the county council over the possibility of the town acquiring land below Herne Hill, which is currently in the council’s ownership.”

Herne Hill, which is managed by Ilminster Town Council, was designated as a local nature reserve by South Somerset District Council following a vote by its district executive committee in July 2018.

Much of the land between Herne Hill and Canal Way (near the Meadows Surgery) is owned by the county council, forming part of Coldharbour Farm in the neighbouring parish of Donyatt.

The council announced its intention in August to sell off the Coldharbour land as part of its ongoing sale of its county farms portfolio, with part of the land being sold to Persimmon Homes South West to allow the Canal Way development of 400 homes to come forward.

In addition to the new homes, the development will include a new primary school, public green space and improved footpath links between the town and the nature reserve.

In addition to the Ilminster Jubilee Wood, tree-planting at other locations across Somerset is being planned as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project, devised by Prince Charles.

Under the project, individuals and organisations will try to plant as many trees as possible from October to mark the platinum jubilee while combating climate change.

Annie Maw, the lord lieutenant of Somerset, said: “This is a wonderfully imaginative project, which will celebrate Her Majesty’s long reign in a way that will improve the environment and leave a positive and lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren.

“I am personally absolutely committed to it, and I hope that it will be taken up by people across Somerset with all the enthusiasm it so richly deserves.”

To find out more about the Queen’s Green Canopy project, visit www.queensgreencanopy.org.

If you are able to volunteer for the Ilminster project, contact Green Ilminster via email at greenilminster@btinternet.com.

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter


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