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Creating a green legacy

We have continued with our ten-year landscape restoration and replanting programme at Windsor, and undertaken wider commemorative planting to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The replanting scheme at Windsor

The Windsor Estate has the largest collection of ancient and veteran oak and beech trees in Northern Europe. It represents a very rare, but declining, habitat for over 2,000 species of beetle and 1,000 species of fungi – 250 of which are very rare and some even exclusive to Windsor. The park and forest also support many breeding birds, visiting winter birds and predatory birds. In addition, forestry plays an important role in reducing local flood risk for nearby towns and villages by retaining water, and the Estate’s ecosystem also helps improve water and air quality.

Due to the impact of disease, storms and insufficient planting, the Estate has lost between 10,000 and 15,000 parkland and open grown trees over the last 140 years. Our plan is to replant these trees into the landscape at Windsor that existed before World War Two, by undertaking a 10-year landscape restoration and replanting scheme. This will also increase and accelerate the planting of a number of new hedgerows, hedgerow trees and in-field trees as the farming operations at Windsor move to an organic system. It will restore parkland and wood pasture, and also all of Windsor’s derelict ponds and watercourses. It will also contribute to our wider net zero 2030 commitment and showcase environmental best practice.

We started this ambitious programme two years ago to replant the various trees, shrubs and hedgerows that have been lost from the landscape. Detailed analysis of original OS maps from 1840 onwards overlaid onto modern aerial imagery has enabled our team of conservation advisors to piece together areas of missing trees, copses and hedgerows. We are undertaking the replanting over a ten year period to ensure that the ancient and veteran trees of the future are well established, alongside a variety of species appropriate to the landscape and to hopefully withstand pests, diseases and the pressures of climate change over the next century and beyond.  

The focus for the replanting in 2021 was Clayhall Farm. This farm was a mature Elm landscape until it was decimated by Dutch Elm disease in the 1970’s. The work undertaken has seen woodland belts planted alongside new double hedgerows. Standard trees have been planted in-field and along the hedgerows. During the winter of 2021/22 we also undertook the first phase of replanting at Flemish Farm with further woodland belts linking areas of wood pasture alongside numerous new hedgerows and trees.

In all, we'll have planted around 12.9 acres of woods and woodland belts and 2,700 metres of new hedgerows at Windsor over the last 18-month period. We have also undertaken 2,000 metres of traditional hedge laying as part of our ongoing management. Storm Eunice and Franklin caused significant damage to the trees, including destroying some of the veteran and ancient trees across the wider Estate and in particular in the Valley Gardens and Home Park Private. We are making sufficient funds available to undertake a significant replanting scheme to replace this storm damage.

Meet John Oliver, Parks Superintendent, share his experience of designing the replanting scheme: 

Commemorative planting

In addition to the restoration and replanting scheme, we have undertaken some special one-off projects this year. We have planted two new avenues, of 70 trees each, in Windsor Great Park to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. We have used two species - the Field Maple, known for its yellow autumn colours, and the Common Hornbeam, noted for its dense canopy and coppery autumn colours. As well as this, Ascot racecourse has kindly gifted a further 70 Oak trees, which have been planted along Dukes Lane, the ceremonial route Her Majesty The Queen takes every year from Windsor Castle to Royal Ascot.

Outside of Windsor, over the next three years we will be planting a series of Jubilee Woods within our wider Rural portfolio. These may be in single woods or in a number of smaller woods on each estate, totalling a minimum of 70 acres per estate where possible. The new woodlands will establish over 1,000 acres of new woodland. This is a major new planting initiative, one of the largest planting projects in the UK, and over a number of years will add to the biodiversity and habitat enhancements across our Rural portfolio. We will also be planting a minimum of 10 miles of new hedgerows across our rural estates.

The new Jubilee woodlands, along with the two commemorative initiatives at Windsor, will be dedicated to the Queen’s Green Canopy – a unique tree-planting scheme that invites people from across the UK, and beyond, to 'Plant a Tree for the Jubilee'. This wider initiative will celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 70 years of service, and create a legacy in Her honour to benefit future generations.

Hear from John Oliver on the commemorative planting and future ambitions of The Crown Estate: 

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