Shaftesbury Tree Group

Shaftesbury Tree Group recently prepared The Town Tree Plan for 2020-25, which was presented to Shaftesbury Town Council in February. The council greatly appreciated our work and approved the plan with a budget for 5 years. We aim to start planting this winter. We hope to involve the community in planting and caring for the trees in their areas and there will be outreach work in the autumn to find interested people.


If you are interested in taking part, do let us know by emailing

Shaftesbury Town Tree Plan 2020-2025

Based on research, liaison, survey, discussion by members of the Shaftesbury Tree Group 2019/2020:  primarily

Angela King (environmentalist),

Robin Walter (forester),

Bernard Ede (landscape architect),

Sue Clifford (environmentalist).

Why we and Shaftesbury need trees and hedges:

The climate crisis we are facing is already leading to rapid degradation of habitats and increasing loss of biodiversity. For selfish and for altruistic reasons we need to play our part in attempting to reverse the collapse of ecosystems.


We are each part of complex webs that reach in and out of our homes and towns. It becomes the responsibility of us all to change our lives to ensure a benign future – this means we must help nature to help us.

One important role we can perform is in encouraging and supporting care for trees – existing trees, new plantings and the free trees that arise around us.

Trees can help ameliorate the effects of climate change and beyond fixing carbon they make our daily lives more amenable and healthier:  creating shade, buffering sound, capturing airborne pollutants, offering shelter from winds, conserving moisture, improving the soil, providing food, homes and pathways for nature.  All of which support local and wider supportive ecosystems which help create beauty and offer us a sense of wellbeing. Large and old trees are particularly important for supporting wild life and sequestering carbon.


Shaftesbury has a rich heritage of trees. But the tree cover is uneven and in some cases of a single age. Our aim is to enrich the tree cover and to help build community knowledge and responsibility along the way.


By playing our part in the return to health of ecosystems and in combatting the climate emergency we intend to:

Increase the tree cover and biodiversity of the town whilst adding to its local distinctiveness.

Aid the cutting of pollution along roadsides, by play areas and gardens.

Providing shade for play areas and by benches.

Increase habitat diversity and ecological richness.

Intensify linkages of greenery in and into town.

Help educate and energise local people into care for trees and in their planting and aftercare.


Objectives are summarised at the head of each area covered.


Anything we can do to help connect ways in and out of town will help wild life to thrive. It is important to link existing tree cover and hedgerows to provide benign corridors: for example to/from - Breach Common, The Wilderness, Boyne Wood, Pensbury Plantation, Brickell’s Cliff.


Areas where people walk and sit, where children play and formal play areas especially need shade and protection from NO2 and particulates from vehicles. Tree cover will become more needed as weather events become more extreme – long spells of heat, prolonged rainfall, high winds,


Biodiversity/ species selection: all the trees and hedgerow plants we have recommended are native and naturalised species. We remain alert to national and international discussion on this.  Trees must be sourced from reputable nurseries who take bio-security seriously and who do not use imported stock. Disease is prevalent because our climate is warming and we have been importing disease with stock. Increasingly we should be growing the trees ourselves.


Out of the 40 open spaces owned/looked after by the Town Council, we have identified 16 for tree and/or hedgerow planting over a period of 5 years.


Year One 2020/21:  we have identified 5 areas  - Barton Hill Recreation Ground, Cockram's Field, play area and football ground, Castle Hill, Ash Close Play Area and Mampitts Cemetery for which  2,017 hedgerow and larger trees will be allocated.. 


There are several areas in the east of town where we should like to have begun work, but they await resolution of issues such as ownership or remedial action.


We are proposing that planting on road verges will not take place until Year 2 (2021-22).


Four Scheduled Monuments must be exempt from tree planting for archaeological protection. There are some spaces and places that do not need additional trees. And there are places for specific discussion. In Allotments trees may not be wanted. Fruit trees, if desired can be planted in subsequent years. The cricket ground has not yet been visited or discussed.


Year One: Planting will take place from November 2020 to March 2021 during suitable weather.


Trees will need to be ordered early, since national demand for trees will be immense.


The idea of collection seed locally will need to be developed and we shall need to locate places to act as our own tree nurseries and to prepare them.  In the autumn of 2020 we hope to encourage the collection of tree seeds, nuts and berries and to establish a Town Tree Nursery where these local specimens can be grown and when established, planted out in our open spaces.

Community Involvement

We cannot plant trees for the town but with the town by involving existing community groups and interested individuals.


We favour the finding and appointment of woodwards and hedgewards - volunteers to take care of locally planted trees and hedgerows by keeping an eye on them and helping the Grounds Team and others to water them in dry spells especially during the first two years. The new Town Tree Nursery will need a group too.


During 2020, prior to autumn and winter planting we should like to organise :

Talks about the importance of trees in the exacerbation of the climate emergency; walks films etc as well as demonstrations of how to plant seeds, to transplant and to plant young trees  and how to organise continued aftercare.

We are grateful to the support of the Town Council staff in the preparation of this project and members of the Shaftesbury Tree Group.


We very much hope that the ROSE Committee can support the Plan in principle and that we can liaise with the Grounds team and others about its implementation.


A Manifesto for Shaftesbury's Trees is being developed.


Click on the map image to download a large PDF of the map

Please Note: These maps are a work in progress and there may be minor changes depending on tree availability

Mampitts Cemetery Trees

Cockram's Trees

Barton Hill Trees

Castle Hill Trees

Ash Close Trees


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