Planting for the future on the Kingston Lacy estate

A National Trust ranger looks down a treeguard in a new forest

This year sees a major tree planting project at Kingston Lacy, aiming to restore rare habitats, boost biodiversity and mitigate the effects of intensive farming.

More than 3,500 trees have been planted in three distinct areas, and another 1,500 will be planted later in 2021. It follows planting two years ago at Abbot Street Copse

The first site of this year’s sites, The Down, was previously farmland and the 40-acre field has been largely left to go wild for the past year. The scrub that developed will be enhanced with four plots (totalling 4.8 acres/1.95 hectares) of native broadleaf woodland, creating a habitat that mixes woodland, scrub and open grassland and kickstarting a naturalistic grazing programme (our Red Ruby Devons and Portland sheep play a big part in how we manage conservation at Kingston Lacy).

" Native trees are great for all kinds of woodland wildlife, including marsh tits, speckled wood and white-letter hairstreak butterflies."
- Jake Simpkins, Forestry Ranger at Kingston Lacy

Near White Mill, a narrow, three-acre (1.21 hectares) strip of land has been planted with 800 trees. The area is part of a flood plain, so classic woodland species for wet and boggy areas such as willow, alder and birch will be used to boost the diversity of the current grassland. This planting is designed to help reduce surface water and arable pollution run-off, while also creating a biodiverse and carbon secure woodland.

New planting of trees along the River Stour will help mitigate flooding
A bend of river seen through reeds, with rows of newly planted trees behind
New planting of trees along the River Stour will help mitigate flooding

At Bear Wood, 1,300 trees have been planted across a 7.3 acre (2.98 hectares) site designed to extend an ancient semi-natural woodland and also provide added community benefits with a new, five-mile permissive path. Traditional species (hazel, oak, wild cherry, lime) will be used to increase woodland cover, while the grazing animals and the development of a wood pasture system aims to increase biodiversity.

Together these three planting sites will help create places across the Kingston Lacy estate for people and wildlife to enjoy for years to come.

Two people walking through woodland