Great North Wood goes virtual to plant the ecology message

Sydenham Hill Wood, a bluebell wood that is part of the ancient Great North Wood, features in this year’s Festival talks

A wildlife festival has gone online, and an online search engine is offering to plant a tree for you, as PAUL LUSHION, our environment correspondent, reports

This is National Tree Week. But like most things in 2020, this year’s events and activities are a little different.

The annual Festival of the Great North Wood, which celebrates what remains of an ancient native English woodland that runs through Norwood and across south London and into Kent, is being staged remotely this year, with a series of online talks and films, all of which are free to book.

The Festival also includes wellbeing activities and creative workshops that will take place between December 7 and 13.

They include Managing London for Wildlife, with Edwin Malins on Monday, December 7 from 6.30pm: “How does the management of spaces for nature in London today relate to, or differ from, both historic and pre-human landscapes? Edwin Malins will deliver a talk looking at the options, opportunities and difficulties in welcoming wildlife within our urban areas.”

To book, click here.

Keeping it Real with Keeping it Wild, on December 9, is a showcase of short films and a panel discussion with young people from the Keeping it Wild project. To book, click here.

The Great North Wood once covered a vast swathe of south-east England

Drawing on a wealth of documents, historic maps and environmental evidence, the 20-minute documentary, Mapping the Great North Wood charts the fortunes of the North Wood from the earliest times: its ecology, ownership, management, its gradual encroachment by the expanding metropolis, and the efforts of the London Wildlife Trust to conserve its surviving remnants.

To be screened on December 10, filmmaker CJ Schüler is taking part in a Q&A afterwards. Click here to book.

And then there is Battles and Bluebells – the story of Sydenham Hill Wood, with the London Wildlife Trust’s Mathew Frith telling how the wood is managed, how they have resisted attempts to develop it, and what the future holds for this urban nature reserve.

This will be staged on December 11. To book, click here.

For more information about the Great North Wood Festival and the work of the London Wildlife Trust, visit their website here.

Last year, more than 160,000 trees were planted around the capital during National Tree Week, part of the environment strategy of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to increase tree cover in London by 10 per cent.

Mayr of London Sadiq Khan has found some alternative ways to get trees planted in 2020

“While it’s not possible to have thousands of Londoners out volunteering this year, there is still plenty you can do to help make London greener,” Khan said today.

That includes getting a tree planted just by switching your default search engine on your computer browser.

Ecosia is a search engine that plants trees when you search the web. As well as planting trees where they are most needed globally, for every Londoner that switches their default browser during National Tree Week, Ecosia will plant trees in London. You can switch using the link

And you can order free trees to plant in your community. The Conservation Volunteers and the Woodland Trust have free tree packs available for order, including volunteering opportunities and advice on the care for young trees, all to be carried out in a suitably covid-safe way. Click here to find out more.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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