Planting begins on Exmoor's Kings Wood

A family who made an incredible £25,000 donation to the Caremoor for Exmoor ‘Woods and Trees’ appeal, have planted the first trees of the new ‘Kings Wood’ near Simonsbath.

Caroline Cook

Tree planting ExmoorA family who made an incredible £25,000 donation to the Caremoor for Exmoor ‘Woods and Trees’ appeal, have planted the first trees of the new ‘Kings Wood’ near Simonsbath.

The Richards family, who have a strong connection with Exmoor, wanted to celebrate the lives of Denys and Cicely Richards who lived in West Buckland for many years and loved Devon and Exmoor. The robust chestnut guard protecting the first parkland tree, will bear a plaque dedicated to the couple and the opportunity for other families to do the same has just been launched by the National Park.

Through its CareMoor for Exmoor scheme, the authority is inviting donors to sponsor other large parkland trees at Simonsbath, each of which will be enclosed by an innovative tree guard, made at Exford from local, sustainable chestnut.

Senior Woodland Conservation Officer Graeme McVittie for Exmoor National Park Authority said: “Each guard will protect the sapling from deer and cattle for a minimum of 15 years. The area will remain a farmed landscape and the stock will benefit from the shelter the trees offer.

"A donation of £750 to CareMoor can secure sponsorship of one of these parkland trees which will live for well over 500 years. To mark the donation, we will place a dedication plaque on the tree guard.”
“Further planting of 6000 smaller trees to create Kings Wood will take place this winter, many at a volunteer event later in December. We’ve grown saplings from seeds harvested from Exmoor at our Exford tree nursery. Knowing the effects that climate change is already having, we’ve prioritised a selection of trees that we are confident will thrive in the National Park. We’ve included sessile oaks, sycamore, Scots pine, silver birch, and mountain ash, all of which will grow well in a challenging environment.

"Trees provide so many environmental benefits: capturing carbon, improving water quality and they're a natural tool for flood management.
We're working to recover temperate rainforest, increase tree cover and create a more resilient landscape. Our aim is for Kings Wood to become a truly sustainable woodland and donations to the CareMoor Woods and Trees Appeal are really helping our efforts. Last winter, donations to CareMoor supported our planting of 13,000 trees at Bye Wood near Winsford. We’re so grateful to the public for helping us to keep Exmoor special for future generations".

Mark Richards visited the Simonsbath site last week, with his sister Julia and brother-in-law Steve, to help plant the first saplings of the new woodland. They met with members of the Exmoor National Park Authority Woodland team, to plant the trees and learn more about what their donation is funding.

Mark said: “My sisters, Sarah and Julia and I are looking forward to spending time here with our children and grandchildren for years to come. The trees and dedication plaque are the perfect way for our parents to be remembered and it’s wonderful to be a part of nature recovery on Exmoor.”
Donations to CareMoor for Exmoor, and sponsorship of parkland trees can be made at or at Exmoor National Park Centres at Dulverton, Dunster and Lynmouth.

Further info:

-Denys Richards (1922- 1999) taught at West Buckland School, whilst Cicely (1921-2014) taught at Truro High School and Barnstaple Grammar in the West Country. Later they taught in Portsmouth.

-The tree guards shown are designed to protect saplings from damage caused by deer or livestock and are made in the local ENPA Exford depot from sustainable chestnut grown in Exmoor woodlands