Our most ambitious project:

Great Avon Wood is a ground-breaking partnership between Avon Needs Trees and the Forest of Avon Trust.  

We have jointly purchased over 100 acres of land just two miles south of Whitchurch, Bristol. Our amazing volunteers are helping us to plant and care for 40,000 trees. Great Avon Wood is the largest woodland creation project on record for the West of England.

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About this woodland:

Great Avon Wood sits at the heart of two landscapes that are regionally important for nature’s recovery: the Limestone-Link and the southern border of the Dundry Downs. The site currently consists of a combination of grassland, hedgerows, deciduous woodland, streams and rush beds. Local biodiversity and wildlife corridors will be enhanced as the woodland grows. Plans include the protection and care of existing species rich grassland and areas of natural regeneration. 

Great Avon Wood will play a role in reducing flood risk in the area. As the new trees grow, their leaves and canopies will help slow the rate that rainfall runs off the land into the River Chew, with long term benefits for local villages and towns. When they reach maturity, the trees will absorb hundreds of tons of carbon per year, making a significant contribution to the South West’s plans to tackle the climate emergency. 

Avon Needs Trees is collaborating with the Woodland Trust to trial biodegradable tree guards and the use of a natural deer deterrent made from lanolin. The site will be plastic and chemical free as we continue to find planting solutions that are good for the planet as well as the local environment.  

As with Avon Needs Trees’ other schemes, the Great Avon Wood will involve a commitment to long-term stewardship of the new trees, including an ongoing maintenance and care programme led by volunteers and overseen by the charity.

 

Local heritage:

Great Avon Wood encompasses some interesting heritage features. Walking through our woodland you can see a section of Wansdyke, a series of early mediaeval defensive earthworks. You can also traverse the route of an old roman road, a railway line, or visit the site of an ancient hermitage. In the next few years, we will be creating a woodland heritage trail to help explain and preserve these features and hosting a series of events both online and in person to share more about the unique history of the area.

Where is the Great Avon Wood?

How to get there

Great Avon Wood is situated in the Chew Valley near the village of Pensford, close to the A37. It can be reached by bus from the centre of Bristol (numbers 376 and 379) and is only a short distance from Whitchurch, where Sustrans’ National Cycle Network 3 is largely vehicle-free to central Bristol.

What we are planting:

Hornbeam
oak
Pedunculate Oak
Hazel
Alder
White Willow
Field Maple
hawthorn
Hawthorn
Aspen

Volunteering at this wood

Child putting a tree stake in the ground

Image - Rob Carmier

Volunteering

We hold regular volunteering sessions at Great Avon Wood, with tree planting between December and March. 

Over the spring and summer we would love you to join us for our conservation days as we care and for and maintain our newly planted trees.

There will be year round volunteer opportunities, family days, wellbeing events and a skills development programme.

We are always looking for people to do regular volunteering work and to train as volunteer leaders. It’s a great way to learn new skills and meet a group of like-minded people.

We are also running a specialist ‘green skills’ development programme in tandem with our social prescribing partners. Find out more by contacting us at volunteer@avonneedstrees.org.uk 

Volunteer at this wood
Volunteer tree planting

Image - Canopy and Stars

Access

When Great Avon Wood is established, there will be wide paths winding through the young trees and a trail which will highlight the area’s heritage. There are a series of existing footpaths on the land, but for now, the best way to get to know this beautiful landscape is to come along to our events and volunteering days.

Join an event

A HUGE thank you…

We would like to thank the Forest of Avon Trust, the Woodland Trust, Defra, The West of England Combined Authority and The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their invaluable support. We would also like to thank the amazing volunteers who are giving their time to make Great Avon Wood a reality.

 

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