A new project initiated by the Worshipful Company of Grocers will see the planting of a new wood near the River Nene in Oundle, as well as improvements to the wetland area, considered to be one of the largest habitats for snipe in Northamptonshire.

In March, around 3,000 English trees will be planted across three acres of field located just off New Road by the town’s Recreation Ground. The currently unused land belongs to the Grocers’ Company.

The project is being spearheaded by the current Master of the Grocers’ Company, Tim Coleridge, who is passionate about conservation and increasing biodiversity. Costing around £35k, it is being funded by fundraising and grants.

Pupils and staff at both Oundle School and LJS will help with the first acre of planting on 20th March. The remaining two acres will be planted later in the year.

The trees will consist of beech, wild cherry, silver birch, alder, willow and conifer, as well as English oak saplings which have been nurtured from acorns by an Oundle School pupil as part of an ambitious WWI Remembrance initiative.

A path with open access will be maintained through the wood and along to the riverside, enabling a potential route linking to Oundle Town Council’s Snipe Meadow boardwalk.

In addition to the wood, repair work will be undertaken to gates and fencing, ensuring better protection for the wetland area. This will be scraped in the summer with specialist machinery to increase its attraction to birdlife and snipe.

Tim Coleridge said: “The idea came about as I went for a walk through the fields during a visit to Oundle for a Governors’ meeting. I knew the Grocers owned the land, but little was being done to increase its biodiversity potential or to make it attractive to walkers. Woodland is so important for the environment, and this gave me the impetus to create a space for everyone to enjoy and for local wildlife to thrive in. Throughout the project we have liaised with Natural England, the Forestry Commission and the Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust, with the Trust being particularly helpful in supporting us to keep pathways open and make a better experience for people.”

The wood will be named the Grocers’ Jubilee Wood, and is being put forward as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative. Once fully planted, the site will be marked with a commemorative plaque as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Hear more about the project from Master of the Grocers’ Company, Tim Coleridge: