The Isle of Man Woodland Trust is a local charity with a truly lovely aim – it concentrates on planting broadleaf woodland trees around the island, so that there’ll be plenty of mature stock for future generations to enjoy.
I’ve been involved for five or six years now, and I’ve never regretted a minute. It’s a great way to banish the winter blues!
Just now, whilst the hedgehogs and other creatures are getting ready to hibernate for the winter, we in the Woodland Trust are gearing up and getting excited about our new planting programme.
We’re already busy – we’ve been planting at Rowany Golf Course, and the magnificent Port St Mary bay. The latter was a great day out. On arrival, we were treated to the sight of 15 or so kayaks heading offshore. We did invite them to come and join us in a spot of digging instead, but they nonchalantly paddled away!
Luckily, the hardcore of Trust volunteers were ready and on hand to get going: Simon Maddrell with a stock of 150 or so magnificent trees to be planted up, and a team comprising longstanding members plus some enthusiastic new faces.
The weather was calm and kind, and we got lots done. All 150 trees were planted, a lovely mix of deciduous broadleafs including downy birch, rowan and willow.
I enjoyed getting stuck into a spot of ‘extreme digging’ (the planting area had some quite steep bits), but there was plenty of gentler activity for the less energetically-minded – anyone who wants can see the fruits of our labours by taking a gentle stroll along Port St Mary’s lovely promenade.
Keep going back to see how they’re progressing!
One of the nice things about spending a day planting an area is the opportunity to really notice and appreciate our landscape. On the way there, we took in Gansey bay and admired some lovely crops of valerian in full pink and white bloom – it’s a treat and well worth pausing for.
The Trust’s Viv Barnett, a well of information on these things, was able to inform me that valerian has a history of being used for medicinal purposes, including tisanes to promote relaxation and ward off insomnia.
But there was no need for sleep aids after our day’s energetic work – there are few better ways to induce a good night’s rest than fresh air and a spot of outdoor exercise.
It was made all the more enjoyable thanks to the friendly company and ample supplies of hot soup and homemade fruit cake.
But the true bonus is in knowing that we’ve done something that can be appreciated by people for years – generations – to come, as they perambulate the promenade. And, at the same time, helping our island’s environment by adding to its supply of woodland trees.
Anyone can join in – we welcome people of all ages, especially families, and you can get involved in lots of different ways.
We meet every other Sunday at different locations, so there’s something accessible for most people.
If you’re interested and would like to join up, or simply find out more, contact our director, Viv Barnett, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 843726 for information, or look up the website at www.isleofmanwoodlandtrust.com
You can ask to go on our mailing list for future planting days.
We have a really exciting programme planned for coming years, and we’d love more people to come and share in the fun!