Ealing’s ancient woodland received a new lease of life earlier this month as hundreds of local people came together to create a new woodland habitat on Horsenden Hill.
The community planting event coincided with National Tree Week and was organised by national charity Trees for Cities and Ealing Council.
The event saw hundreds of volunteers coming out in force to replenish the woodland habitat and mark the end of National Tree Week, in which thousands of trees have been planted across the UK.
The new trees on Horsenden Hill will not only bring environmental benefits to the area but some of the trees will also be used for a variety of community-led crafting and social enterprise activities; including green woodwork, basket weaving and hedge laying.
Through the planting and woodland activities, Trees for Cities is working closely with Ealing Council towards a vision of creating an accessible, active working woodland for the community, and developing Horsenden Hill into a self-sustaining woodland habitat.
The project will be a model for urban working woodland creation that will be rolled out across the borough and beyond to help safeguard London’s woodland heritage.
The reinvigoration of the historic site is thanks to a three-year partnership between Ealing Council and Trees for Cities, who have worked closely together to plant trees and green communities across the borough.
At 100 hectares, Horsenden Hill is the largest single nature conservation site in Ealing, and the broad grassy summit of the Hill is the highest point in the borough. It holds an important heritage value in the area, and its long history of farming and activities on site has resulted in the Hill being scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act.
Horsenden Hill is also a popular destination for local residents and community groups, therefore sustainable planting and management of new woodland is vital to ensure local activities can not only continue to exist on site, but thrive.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for transport, environment and leisure said: “This project at Horsenden Hill is enhancing a vital local woodland habit, which is really good news for biodiversity in the borough. This is a great example of the community taking real pride in their local green spaces and putting in a huge effort to create something we can all be proud of. I’d like thank all the volunteers and our park rangers who have worked really hard to make this woodland project a real success.”
David CEO, Trees for Cities said: “We feel very privileged to be working with Ealing Council to replenish one of the borough’s most iconic and historical sites. The vision for Horsenden Hill is to become a self-sustaining, working urban woodland, and a resource for local communities, that connects people with its most ancient trees. We are looking forward to continue working with the Council on even more projects like this to continue making Ealing a thriving green borough for generations to come.”