Tree planting event helps ‘spruce’ up local churchyard

Nicolette loubser and her family planting their tree at this year s family tree event at st nicholas church brockenhurst web

Published Tuesday 12 December 2017

Families and friends came together to celebrate their loved ones by helping to plant a community wildlife space in the New Forest.

The Family Trees event was run by the New Forest National Park Authority during the closing weekend of National Tree Week (25 November – 3 December) and marked the beginning of the tree planting season.

Over 300 people planted trees at St Nicholas’ Churchyard in Brockenhurst, choosing one of 13 native tree species, while children enjoyed designing fairy doors and special leaf messages with the National Park Authority’s rangers.
Every group that took part in the tree planting received a free personalised certificate as a memento, dedicated to someone special or a memorable event in their life. Families said they were celebrating everything from their child’s birth, to wedding anniversaries and the life of a loved-one.

Trees and woodlands are a key feature of the natural beauty of the New Forest and they also make an important contribution to the appearance of towns and villages within the area. As the Family Trees wildlife space grows and matures it will provide a legacy for future generations and provide a lasting memory of a loved-one.

This year’s event included the planting of a beech tree, donated by the Woodlands Trust to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest and the launch of the new Charter for Trees, Woods and People that took place on November 6 2017. A commemorative woodland themed bench has been created for this year’s site, carved by Gary Orange using the trunk of a fallen oak tree from the churchyard. 

Family trees 2017 crafts

Nicolette Loubser from Lymington took part in the event with her family and said: ‘We attended a past Family Trees event two years ago in Sway and this year we returned to mark the upcoming arrival of our fifth family member! We are extremely excited and this is a wonderful way to celebrate our growing family and help create a wonderful space for years to come.’

Kevin Baker, Brockenhurst Parish Council Groundsman at St Nicholas’ Church, said: ‘This is the oldest church in the Forest and there is so much history in this churchyard for people to see and learn about; from the war graves to the grave of the famous snakecatcher Brusher Mills, and a yew tree that’s over 1,000 years old.  

‘The churchyard is home to so much wildlife and has seas of bluebells and orchids in the summer and beautiful colours in autumn. It was wonderful to see so many people coming together to create a memory in such a lovely setting.'

Family Trees 2017

(Sarah England and her family with the commemorative beech tree from the Woodlands Trust).

Lee Town from Holbury said: ‘Our whole family really enjoyed planting a number of trees and it was a great way to remember our Pop Pops and Grandparents this year in a special way. The event was well organised and everyone was very friendly.’

Michael Croker, Brockenhurst Parish Councillor, said: ‘The tree planting was a huge success and it was clear that an excellent day was had by everyone involved. It was good to see so many people being brought together to celebrate family and friends, and help create a new wildlife space in the Forest.

‘We were delighted that the churchyard was chosen as the site for this year’s event. It was wonderful to see people of all ages and from across the National Park come together to plant more trees and help wildlife.’

(L-R) NPA Chief Executive Alison Barnes, NPA Senior Tree Officer Nik Gruber, NPA Member Harry Oram, Brockenhurst Parish Council Groundsman Kevin Baker and Brockenhurst Councillor Michael Croker

((L-R) NPA Chief Executive Alison Barnes, NPA Senior Tree Officer Nik Gruber, NPA Member Harry Oram, Brockenhurst Parish Council Groundsman Kevin Baker and Brockenhurst Councillor Michael Croker).

The Family Trees event received support from Brockenhurst Parish Council and Wessex Tree Surgeons, with funding from Tesco Bags of Help. 

To be first to hear about any plans for a similar event in 2018 sign up at


Notes to photo editor:

Nicolette Loubser and her family planting their tree at this year’s Family Tree event at St Nicholas’ Church, Brockenhurst. Additional photos of the day are available at

Notes to editor:

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

Media Contact

Beki Mole, Communications Assistant 
New Forest National Park Authority 
Tel: 01590 646639 

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