5,000 free trees for local people and community tree planting sessions announced in Bedford Borough

Tree planting 2023

This year’s community tree planting sessions will take place across two sites and Bedford Borough Council is once again giving away 5,000 trees to local residents, community groups, schools and organisations.

Event details:

Community tree planting:

Thursday 1 February, 10.30am, at Cardington Road, Bedford, What3words location ///heads.safely.other.

Tuesday 13 February, 10.30am, at Moor Lane, near Elstow, What3words location ///cars.trees.soap.

Volunteers are asked to email volunteering@bedford.gov.uk with their choice of site, personal details (name and contact email or phone number) and also details of anyone that will be joining them. An email will be sent to confirm the booking and details of the site, such as if parking is available. The Council is encouraging people to use sustainable forms of transport to get to the event where possible.

Children are welcome but must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times, last year it was wonderful to see families working together to plant trees that they will be able to visit for years to come.

Tree giveaway:

Wednesday 21 and Saturday 24 February, from 10am to 1pm, at the Oasis Pool car park, Bedford (What3words location ///link.wounds.prep).

The tree giveaway includes a range of native species, from the colourful Dogwood right through to the mighty Oak and staff will be able to give guidance and answer any questions on the day. A full list of species and some frequently asked questions will be available a few days before the event at www.bedford.gov.uk/trees.

Residents will need to provide their address and will be able to take away up to five trees while businesses, community groups and schools can collect up to 25 trees. The trees will all need to be planted on private land within Bedford Borough and with the owner’s permission. Growing Beds Ltd will also be supplying compost at no charge for residents to take away on the day. It is important that people bring something suitable to protect the roots during transport, such as a plastic bag.

Jim Weir, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Highways, and Transport at Bedford Borough Council, said, "We are thrilled to once again invite residents to join us in this tree planting initiative. It's an excellent opportunity for people to contribute to our environment and enhance the beauty of Bedford Borough while enjoying the outdoors and some healthy exercise.

“The tree giveaway has proven to be immensely popular over the last few years and I recommend arriving early if people don’t want to miss out on their first choice of tree species.”

No experience is needed for the tree planting sessions as staff will be on hand to help with guidance and advice. Attendees should wear suitable warm clothing, including gloves and boots. Equipment, such as spades and clout hammers, will also be provided on the day.

This year’s community planting projects are in partnership with the Forest of Marston Vale and funded through the Trees for Climate initiative.

The tree planting season runs from November 2023 to March 2024 and the Council expects to plant in excess of 11,000 trees outside of these events. With the trees being given away in February and the community tree planting sessions, in excess of 16,000 trees will be planted in Bedford Borough this season.  

Community planting sites last year included Brownswood, Longholme Way, Maskell Drive, Duchess Road and Thor Drive and although there was some trouble with vandalism, we are happy to report that this planting has seen a near 80% survival rate. Great progress has also been seen at Bedford Borough’s first Myawaki Forest planting project on Longholme Way with an exciting ecosystem already developing as it has established itself in these first twelve months.

Teams from Bedford Borough Council manage trees, hedges, shrubs, flower beds and green spaces across Bedford Borough throughout the year and this is a fantastic opportunity for local residents to join in with some planting, make new friends and learn new skills.

Discover more about trees in Bedford Borough at www.bedford.gov.uk/trees.