More than 1,200 trees will be planted in an area of Southmead in Bristol as part of a joint project to boost their presence in urban areas.
OVO Foundation, OVO Energy’s charity, and partners Earthwatch Europe and Bristol City Council are planting Bristol’s first Tiny Forest on Thursday 4 February at Trym Valley Open Space in Southmead.
Tiny Forests are densely packed native forests built into urban spaces which fit into the size of a tennis court. The first UK Tiny Forest was planted in Witney, Oxfordshire, in March 2020. The first OVO-funded forest was planted in Oxford in January 2021, and alongside Bristol, others are planned in Birmingham, Glasgow and Leicester. Earthwatch’s ambition is to plant 150 Tiny Forests in urban areas within the next two years.
Bristol City Council has been working to transform Trym Valley Open Space by planting more than 1,200 trees throughout January and February. The plan was designed in partnership with local community organisations and includes a woodland, orchard, riverside trees and a Tiny Forest.
The diversity of planting on this site will provide a boost to biodiversity and improve the space for the local community. This is part of Bristol City Council’s ‘One Tree Per Child’ project which aims to plant a tree for every pupil starting primary school in the city each year – 6,000 in total.
The Tiny Forest will provide benefits such as improved air quality to local children, who will be able to visit their growing trees once schools return. With the help of young people from local schools, Earthwatch will collect data on: carbon absorption, flood mitigation, thermal comfort and biodiversity, as well as assess the social and wellbeing benefits.
Caroline Silke, Head of OVO Foundation, said:
“We're passionate about educating the younger generation on how to reduce their carbon footprint, protect the physical environment, and limit their impact on the planet.
"Tiny Forests help children learn about the environment and sustainability in a really accessible way. By planting 12 Tiny Forests in urban communities across the UK with Earthwatch, we will help connect children with their local green spaces and show them how they can protect it for future generations.”
Clara Stevenson, Programmes and Partnership Director at Earthwatch Europe, said:
“Tiny Forests provide rich opportunities for connecting young people with the environment and sustainability. It’s vital that we give people the knowledge and skills to protect our natural world and inspire them to take positive action from a young age. We are delighted to be working with the OVO Foundation and Bristol City Council to bring these inspiring spaces to Bristol and other communities across the UK.”
Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Communities, Equalities & Public Health at Bristol City Council said:
“We are really excited to be planting the first Tiny Forest in the city, in partnership with the OVO Foundation and Earthwatch Europe. At a time when it seems impossible to overcome the enormous challenge of the climate and ecological crisis, Tiny Forests offers a collaborative natural solution with benefits to both local people and the wider city. Also delighted that Southmead was selected as the first area of the city to benefit from a natural green space which will also contribute towards our green plans for the city, including our ambition to double our tree canopy cover by 2046.”