The Princess Royal planted a wild cherry tree in the Borders on Tuesday to mark the creation of the Grieston Hill Diamond Wood on the Glen Estate near Innerleithen.
The wood is one of 20 Diamond Woods in Scotland, and 60 across the UK, being created as part of the Woodland Trust’s Jubilee Woods project, of which the Princess Royal is patron.
The project aims to plant six million trees to celebrate the Queen’s 60-year reign.
Children from St Ronan’s Primary School, Innerleithen, planted 25 trees, took part in a variety of woodland activities, and watched a demonstration of bracken cutting with a horse. The princess met a number of local people involved in forestry.
Georgina McLeod, Woodland Trust Jubilee Woods director, said: “Wild cherry, or gean, trees are one of the first native trees to blossom in spring. They represent annual renewal and so it’s an appropriate choice to plant within a wood which will serve as a reminder of the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.
“I’m delighted that the Princess Royal has come to celebrate the creation of the Diamond Wood at Grieston Hill. This is a superb location for a new native wood overlooking Innerleithen and the Tweed Valley. It will form a visible reminder of a very special Jubilee, provide a new home for wildlife and be a great asset for the local community.”
Tessa Tennant, lead trustee of the Glen Estate, said: “We’re so proud to have one of the 60 Diamond Woods here on the estate, and delighted that the Princess Royal has chosen to plant the first of 48,000 native trees on Grieston Hill.
“The site is easily seen from the waiting room of Innerleithen Health Clinic and local school children are involved in the planting too. We are giving St Ronan’s School an album so they can record their involvement with the wood as it grows over the years.
“Glen Diamond Wood is a lasting and meaningful way to celebrate the Queen’s reign, and indeed the lives of all great women in public life, during her reign. Her Majesty has a great love of nature and can inspire all of us to value trees more.
“Woods are a brilliant way to absorb carbon dioxide emissions so this also helps the local area do its bit to combat climate change. We’re very grateful to the Woodland Trust for taking such an imaginative and positive initiative.”
Anyone wanting to get involved with the Jubilee Woods project, and perhaps plant their own tree, should visit the website at www.jubileewoods.org.uk.
The trust is also offering people a chance to be at the heart of the Queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations, by planting trees for it.
For advice on planting a Jubilee wood as part of the Jubilee Woods project, please contact the dedicated Woodland Creation team on 08452 935 689 or visit the website.
There are also thousands of free community tree packs containing 105 or 420 native tree species, each containing a “royal oak” sapling, grown from acorns collected on royal estates.
Packs can be ordered for planting this autumn.