Brighton's temporary forest finds a permanent home

Posted On 23 Feb 2010 at 9:10 am

Trees from a miniature forest which appeared overnight in the city centre last summer before disappearing again will now find a home in East Brighton Park.

Brighton student Lucy Palmer originally bought the trees for her temporary installation Walking Woods, which cropped up in Victoria Gardens from June 6 – 11 last year.

Tomorrow, 600 of them will be planted by volunteers to form a permanent new woodland.

School children, students and businesses will be among those taking part in the mass tree planting, organised by Brighton & Hove City Council and international tree planting charity Trees for Cities.

Many of the trees, which include field maple, sweet chestnut, yew and wild cherry, are already around three metres in height, so the planting will make a major and immediate impact within the park.

Among those taking part will be Natalie Hayward who will be celebrating her 20th birthday with friends by planting trees on the day.

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, Brighton & Hove City Council’s cabinet member for Environment, said: “It is unusual to be planting so many trees in one of our parks and we are delighted to be creating this new area of woodland in East Brighton Park.

“The woodland will be an attractive addition to the park. It will provide food and cover for birds and other wildlife.

“We would like to thank all the volunteers coming along to plant the trees and everyone else involved in the project.”

Trees for Cities’ Trustee and Brighton resident Jake Kempston said: “It’s great to be working in Brighton for our third year running. The projects grow year on year, so I hope even more local residents will hear about our work and want to get involved.”

The trees, which were in pots, have also been used at community events around the city, including Streets for People Day last September.

More volunteers of all ages are welcome to join in the planting – simply come along to the park between 10am and 3pm.

Lucy Palmer’s University of Brighton project formed part of the Places for Spaces project, which was managed by the Solent Centre for Architecture & Design in partnership with Kent Architecture Centre and funded by SEEDA.

The planting comes a few days after several century-old plane trees were saved from being felled in Clyde Road, Brighton.

This prompted the Brighton Bits blog to reflect on how a resident who lived in Lorna Road, Hove a couple of decades or so before they were planted felt about trees in Brighton.

She quotes an extract from “Sunny Brighton” by the Victorian nature writer Richard Jefferies, who wrote: “Trees are not wanted in Brighton; it is the peculiar glory of Brighton to be treeless.

“Trees are the cause of damp, they suck down moisture, and fill a circle round them with humidity. Places full of trees are very trying in spring and autumn even to robust people, much more so to convalescents and delicate persons. Have nothing to do with trees, if Brighton is to retain its value.”

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