The Woodland Trust was founded in 1972 by Kenneth Watkins and is the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity. It Manages 1000 woods covering 50,000 acres and has planted nearly 40 million trees. It has over 500,000 members, supporters and volunteers.
The Woods are important for our wildlife as they provide shelter and food for wildlife, convert CO2 into timber and oxygen, absorb heat and harmful radiation, reduce flooding and soil erosion and offer shade and wellbeing.
In the past was vital for Agriculture, shipbuilding and the industrial revolution. Of special note, 6000 trees were used to build HMS Victory.
Locally, Langley Vale is a special Woodland Trust site to commemorate WWI in England. It is one of four First World War centenary woods. The others are: Dreghorn Woods near Edinburgh in Scotland; Coed Ffos Las in Carmarthenshire, Wales; Brackfield Wood in County Londonderry. A million trees for a million soldiers.
Langley Vale is a 640 acre farm and is now a woodland site. It was used to billet and train troops during WW1 and Lord Kitchener inspected troops at Epsom Downs.
The planning application to cover the farm is being finalised.The current plans for Langley Vale are to create a nature reserve for everyone to enjoy; a visitor centre, car park and memorial area; paths, trails, bridleways and cycle paths; and a natural play area for children. There are to be Verdun oaks, a community orchard, a Jutland Wood, a football club and individual groves.
Local groups are involved in working parties, conservation monitoring, tree planting events over the winter. The community orchard is now established.