In the last few months, we have run a consultation process on views and ideas for the Forest of Memories, a forest that will remember the loved ones lost because of Covid19. One of the key things that we have gathered views (and have fielded many questions on) during the consultation period is a simple question “where will the Forest of Memories be?” Today we can give you an update on this and provide some great news on developments.
More than one Forest of Memories:
At the end of the Consultation period last month we concluded that what people wanted was a forest of remembrance that was in reasonable travel distance of them to visit. That is of course understandable. If someone has dedicated trees in the Forest of Memories to their loved one they would understandably want to visit the forest and the place where the trees are. That logically means we either need to:
- Have an exceptionally large forest the size of the UK (not a bad idea!), or
- Create several different forests around the UK.
As we cannot (sadly) go with option 1, we have decided that option 2 should be our objective.
So where will these Forests of Memories be?
We are excited to let you know that we are in final stages of conversations with Runnymede Borough Council in Surrey on having the first Forest of memories located with them. Whilst we are still finalising discussions, the council should be applauded by everyone for the commitment they have shown so far in helping to create a national way to remember, and support, everyone who has lost someone because of Covid-19 this summer. More than that, the Forest in Runnymede will be a legacy for this country and all those involved in creating it. Our thanks go out to Runnymede Borough Council for the outstanding help they have provided to the Forest of Memories project so far.
We believe these discussions will be finalised over the coming weeks so that we can start the much anticipated next steps of designing the forest and landscape. That design process will adhere to our ethos and mission of creating a forest built on the core principles of remembrance, accessibility, education, and sustainability.
To give an idea of where other Forests of Memories are likely to be located, we have created the map below. To be clear, we are in the early stages of searching for land in locations other than Runnymede that we have been focused on so far. But we are now extending our search and are reaching out to councils, governments, and other landowners who may have suitable land for forests in the general areas we have highlighted on the map. We stress however that the general areas highlighted are by no means fixed and we are open to other ideas and options.
So, who do we want to speak to next?
You will see from the map above that we are proposing to engage (or have already engaged) with landowners and local council around the South West, Midlands and North of England, and across Wales, Scotland, and N Ireland, as well as with environmental departments directly in the Welsh and Sottish governments and Northern Ireland Assembly.
Our aim is to plant at least 65,000 trees, to symbolize the excess deaths in the United Kingdom this summer. We will spread this reforestation across smaller sites, but if we obtain larger sites of course we can plant more trees in a single location.
As mentioned earlier, the reason for concentrating on these multiple locations is because we learnt from our recent consultation process that people wanted a fitting, living tribute to the people they have lost that was within travel distance of them. The other benefit of creating this new network of Memory Forests is that visitors won’t have to travel so far, so there will be less pollution – who can argue with that!
Landowners – You don’t have to wait for us to contact you!
If you are a landowner reading this blog, or you know someone who could help us, then do not wait for us to contact you to discuss using your land. Contact us today and let’s have a chat about the land you could offer, and how we can benefit you!
Please call the land committee 0300 365 1003 or complete the form below