I Dig Trees

(Note: Below, you can see the original I Dig Trees report from the 2016/17 activity.)

Cotswold Tree Warden Group were contacted once more in 2017 by the I Dig Trees programme organisers with the offer of packs of free trees, with guards and cane supports. The Conservation Volunteers co-ordinate this impressive project initiated by OVO Energy as part of its 100% renewable Greener Energy Plan. The intention this year was to distribute, and have planted, another 150,000 trees across the UK.


Cotswold Tree Warden Group contacted all our parishes and tree wardens, plus adjacent partner groups where there is no official Tree Warden Group. It is a condition of the programme that the trees are planted in suitable positions for public visibility. Those who were in a position to receive and plant trees this time round were offered 50 trees from a selection of mainly native trees in categories of Parkland, Large Garden, Small Garden and Wildlife & Shrubs. The following communities took part: Bisley, Cirencester, Coberley, Cotswold Forest School, Fairford, Kemble, Sevenhampton, Somerford Keynes, Witney, as well as some planting by CTWG itself across the district.

This year the trees came in bundles of the same species tree. Despite their bare roots, many were showing signs of new development.  It took a couple of wintry afternoons, including sleet, getting cold fingers to make up the packs.  Still, a small price to pay for getting more trees into the community.  And with Ash dieback threatening our vistas, not to mention Horse Chestnut leaf miner and so on, we are likely to need all the new plantings we can get.

Glyn Rees co-ordinated Witney’s effort and as the photos show, they clearly picked a good day for planting their batch of trees and helping contribute towards a better environment.

2018 Witney 0117_151356 (1280x960)2018 Witney 0117_155000 (960x1280)


Watch out for a follow up from other plantings around the district.


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In the autumn of 2016 CTWG responded to an offer from The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to apply for a supply of free trees under the “I Dig Trees” scheme, a collaboration between TCV and OVO Energy.

The trees offered were whips supplied with support canes and guards and were available in packs of 50 in selections suitable for parkland, both large and small gardens and also a ‘wildlife and shrub’ batch. Almost all the trees are native British.

We requested a number of the packs and took delivery in the new year.

The first planting took place at Ditchford Far Hill Farm, north of Moreton-in-Marsh on Saturday 25th February. Owner David Gabb allowed Cotswold Tree Warden Group a further opportunity to undertake hedgelaying training on his land – the third year that this has taken place. In return, CTWG presented David with a supply of young hedging trees obtained through the “I Dig Trees” Scheme for an area of his land surrounding the drainage ponds, within a short distance of the Fosse Way. The first of these were planted by Mike Hartnell – Chairman of CTWG – and Mr Gabb to supplement the environmental benefits of the ponds. They will assist the development of the visual amenity of the surroundings and in due course help protect stock on the farm.

Planting – Left, David Gabb, Ditchford Far Hill Farm and right, Mike Hartnell
After taking the photos, including David with the guidance notes above, we left him to complete the planting.
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On Friday 10th March a joint initiative took place between Cirencester Town Council (CTC), local volunteer group AQIVA and CTWG to progress the initiative for improvements in the area by the obelisk, off Cotswold Avenue, Cirencester.

Following contact between the Council’s Estate Services Manager, Martin Conyers and Ann Jones, Co-ordinator of CTWG, the possibility of a joint effort was raised. Martin and Ann realised that a batch of the I Dig Trees supply, in this instance, hedging plants and shrubs, would be beneficial to the works being undertaken to the public area near the Scout Hut and obelisk adjacent to Cotswold Avenue, Cirencester.

Shaun Wiggins, CTC Land Management Officer, led the work, getting together with regular volunteers AQIVA and Tree Wardens. After he and colleagues prepared the plot, a joint working party set about further tidying the site and planting around 100 young trees with support canes and guards.

Passing members of the public stopped to take an interest, asking what were being planted and commenting that the efforts were “putting them to shame”. The answer regarding the species was that it is a mix of hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel and field maple.

This is just another example of community co-operation undertaken at minimal cost, but which goes to improve the public amenity around the town.

Sorting the whips – Ann Jones, Alison Horrocks of AQIVA and Shaun Wiggins, Cirencester Town Council
Clearing the trench of stones and rubbish
Yet more clearing before the planting can start (Photo by Alison Horrocks)
Planting and adding guards (Photo by Shaun Wiggins)
The finished hedge planting