Planting Trees

Tree Planting Pledge

February 2021

Conservation takes work. It takes commitment. It’s not enough just to plant a tree. It has to be nurtured and tended to. While we at Made by the Forge take our pledge of ‘one tree planted for every order’ very seriously, we know that’s just the start of the story. Your tree begins a decades long journey and it’s as important to know that it’s in good hands. Details mean a great deal. Houghton Hall Estate insisted on buying biodegradable tubes to keep the saplings safe, a gesture that convinced us more than ever that we were working with people who care as we do, like-minded custodians of the natural world.

On a bright but cold spring day in February this year, Robert and company from the estate geared up and began planting. Made by the Forge donated the trees, which were planted using the previously mentioned biodegradable tubes and cones. The planting conditions were perfect and the task was only completed when the three thousand or more young trees were firmly in the ground. Approximately one kilometre of double row hedge trees was installed across the established beetle bank which already houses over-wintering insects and will provide much needed habitat for the surrounding birds and wild inhabitants.

There are many advantages to this addition of a hedge across the beetle bank. A number of smaller fields are created and will act as important windbreaks, which will, in turn, help prevent soil erosion. The species already living in the adjoining landscape are numerous and beautiful to witness. They need any help they can get and tree planting gives them so many more options for food and shelter. A few of the birds spotted recently searching for seeds, invertebrates and a suitable home, were corn buntings, yellowhammers, stonechats, wagtails, redwings, fieldfares and lapwings, all of whom are a delight to see.

Soon the growing season will be upon us and the life of the new trees will begin. We are just so pleased and thrilled that we have been a small part of providing a little more shelter, more biodiversity and some extra carbon storage for our wild countryside. Our gratitude goes out to Robert and his team of committed conservationists.

Established beetle bank, Houghton

November 2020

Our pledge to plant a tree for every order taken is something we take very seriously at Made by the Forge. Last year we were alerted to a major tree-planting initiative in Norfolk. To date, Houghton Hall Estate has already planted 14 kilometres of hedging and is committed to planting for many years to come. We were taken with the idea of supporting the Estate by sponsoring the planting of trees to reinstate lost hedging. The hedging would be interspersed with oak trees left to mature thereby mimicking how the landscape would evolve if we’d not controlled it for our own needs for centuries. This in turn will encourage more nature to thrive making available different habitats for a whole variety of species.

In terms of working the land, the Estate is completely organic and provides the majority of organic carrots in the UK’s supermarkets. If you buy organic carrots, the likelihood is that they come from North Norfolk. A completely organic countryside is rare for nature so we felt very drawn to this enterprise. The owners farm the Estate in a considerate and responsible way. So while we pay for the trees, the estate is paying for the tree guards, canes and the actual planting. Each of our customers has a tree which is planted just for them making this country just that little bit more natural.

Our trees will be planted across a beetle bank the Estate has established (image below). Beetle banks are refuge habitats for predatory insects and spiders. These banks can exist mid-field or at the field’s side. They don’t interfere with normal farming practice. The creatures they home in winter significantly reduce pest species in crops as long as they are able to spread out over the fields from the banks in spring. The field we are planting across will gradually become a smaller field joining open farmland. The tree planting will improve the beetle bank and will consist of mixed hedging plants and the scattering of oak trees. The planting is planned for February 2021.

The benefits to nature are plentiful; many more species of birds will be encouraged to make their nests nearby with an abundance of food available. The area is already home to numerous pairs of Turtledoves. This, in and of itself, if you know your birds and their conservation status, is already an extraordinary achievement. There are Yellow Hammers in abundance and the banks encourage Corn Buntings and older declining farmland birds to make their nests nearby. For all the right reasons, the Estate is creating a haven for a great many species while still working the land. It’s a win-win situation and we are proud to support it. We hope you will be too.

 

May 2020

Our personal and business ethos is self-sufficiency, caring for our planet and one of the ways we give back is to plant trees. What makes the company unique is its pledge to plant a tree for every order received. We make sure that what the company takes from the Suffolk environment, it puts back into the Suffolk environment.

Donated Trees Planted at Carlton Marshes

Just before the lockdown, we were extremely fortunate to check in with Suffolk Wildlife Trust, specifically Carlton Marshes, their flagship nature reserve situated on the south west edge of Lowestoft.

How many trees planted?

What we didn’t know until we arrived was just how many trees you, our customers, have enabled the trust to plant. Michael Strand, Community Fundraising Manager, said that “…as part of the restoration work to create a 1000 acre wild destination area, the Trust is providing new access  opportunities for visitors in and around the new visitor centre. This includes landscaping a corridor of native trees and shrubs to help safely guide people towards the centre who enter the reserve by foot and to act as a scrubby wildlife corridor along the fringes of the wild play area and car park.”

Tree Species Planted

Species planted in the fields of Carlton Piece and Burnt Hill by volunteer teams from Essex & Suffolk Water and Suffolk County Council late last year include hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose, spindle, hazel and guelder-rose. Thanks to Made by the Forge’s customers, Suffolk Wildlife Trust has planted approximately 1800 trees at Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve. 1800! Pat yourselves on the back, everybody.

March 2020

The trees planted last year have wintered well and are thriving.

 

November 2019

Photo of some of the trees donated through your support being planted at Carlton Marshes on Friday. Volunteers are from a local company called Starfrost.

Kind regards

Community Fundraising Manager

April 2019 – Giving Back

As you probably know, Made by the Forge pledges to plant a tree for every order received. We take this pledge very seriously. In February this year, hundreds of trees were planted thanks to all you wonderful people who ordered ironwork from us last year. The funds to do so were recently donated to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust for landscape trees to be planted around the development at Carlton Marshes Visitor Centre, car park and children’s play area.

Carlton and Oulton Marshes range over a one hundred and fifty hectare nature reserve in Lowestoft. They are collectively a lowland reserve in the Broads National Park. This consists of meadows, wet grasslands, reed beds, marshes and woodlands. We chose to support the planned tree planting needed at Carlton Marshes to help the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s overall goal to make this reserve a very special place for wildlife and people. The volunteer team is putting in one exterior rabbit fence using chestnut posts and the trees are scattered within.

The Suffolk Wildlife Trust arranged the tree planting at Carlton Marshes, which will go some way towards this amazing location becoming an even more special place to visit. The marshes are open to anyone who wants a wild, outdoor experience. And who doesn’t?

The images were kindly supplied by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. “Thank you once again for your terrific support” Michael Strand, Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

February 2018 – Alexandra Park, Ipswich – Tree Planting

Another fun day out with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and some hardy volunteers – or rather that was the plan. It was Saturday 27th January 2018. The Trust’s Education Officer Lucy Shepherd had organised a Tree Planting Event in Alexandra Park, Ipswich, Suffolk which Made by the Forge had sponsored. There was an open invitation to families to come along and help plant the trees to improve and enhance the park. There was another park that scuppered my attempts to be there on time to help and take some photos.

Portman Road is the home of Ipswich’s football club and they were playing Wolves there that afternoon. And if any of you know what it’s like travelling through football traffic, you’ll understand that by the time I’d got to my destination, all the planting was complete. My belated apologies to Lucy for not quite making it. And Ipswich lost, 1-0… Lucy and the team of volunteers managed to plant 250 trees in about 3 hours. That’s about one and a half trees a minute!

Lucy said it was “A massive community effort with about 40 people attending to come and help. It was such a lovely day with people popping by who couldn’t plant trees but who just wanted to see what we were doing…. Some wildflower seed was also planted near the trees and this will be such a lovely area for wildlife when it has all been established.”

Lucy was very grateful for our support because it gave the Suffolk Wildlife Trust the opportunity to plant much needed trees in the park. I’m sure the pictures speak for themselves. There’s something enormously refreshing about young people doing things that involve no screens or computer code although I am well aware of the irony saying that in a blog…

January 2018 - As you probably know, for every order, Made by the Forge pledges to plant a tree to give back to nature what we’re taking from it. We assign this important part of our business to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Rather than plant one tree at a time, we let the Trust choose the best location and then on a certain day, volunteers who care about the environment come along and plant hundreds of trees at once.

We are indebted to Michael Strand the Trust’s Development Officer whom we meet usually every year at tree plantings. Alas both he and Site Manager Alan Miller were not available for this years’ plantings but there as the Trust representative was Sam Hanks, the Coastal Reserves Assistant and it was a pleasure to meet him.

While at Thorington in Suffolk, I was struck by the generosity of the volunteers. It’s such a good feeling to know there are dedicated and committed people out there who will give their time on a chilly December morning to plant trees given that the simple reward for their actions – a line of proud trees – will be years in the future. We’ve credited the volunteers at the end of this short 2 minute film to mark the occasion. (Click on the picture right to watch) I hope you enjoy it.

Tree Planting with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust

 

April 2017 - Made by the Forge’s policy is to plant a tree with every order received. We do this in partnership with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and it’s done cheerfully with the assurance that while our products may take something from the natural world, we are also giving back too. It is a certificate confirming that Made by the Forge is an ‘Investor in Wildlife’ and with a Gold Level status no less.

Made by the Forge is an ‘Investor in Wildlife’

February 2017 - Richard and I met with Michael Strand, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Development Officer in Leavenheath. We drove down a long stony track and through a gate, which opened up into a huge expanse of wild countryside. It was raining, as it duly does when we go to see the trees being planted by the SWT! We pledged a long time ago now to plant a tree for every order received. We still do this and attend the tree planting personally. It takes place once a year with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and this year a new green lane is being planted.

The rain was steadily falling as the wind billowed around the volunteers who seemed in good spirits regardless of the weather. The men and woman were on a Team Building day away from their desks and warm office. This was the Customer Service Team from UK Power Networks. The volunteers are allocated two days a year to work with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

The planting was at Kingsland Copse, part of Ager Fen and Spouces Vale and was planned so that the new hedgerows would one day connect to the existing hedges of trees providing habitat for all sorts of species, especially the dormice which in recent years have dwindled in number.

We were told that the dormouse is doing very well in this area due to their re-population of the habitat provided for them. They eat a mixture of flowers, nectar, hawthorn, autumn berries, blackberries and haws. Creating this new green lane would provide more of a playground home for them.

The rough mix of trees planted was approximately 50% hazel, 25% blackthorn and a selection of buckthorn, dog rose and oak which, we were told, are good for bats because they grow bigger than the other tree species.

It’s all good news and Michael told us that the whole area that the Suffolk Wildlife Trust now own and manage around Ager Fen is now home to the nightingale again. It was absent for around ten years but is now back so this in itself shows the area is becoming rich in resources in which the wild world needs to flourish.

April 2016 - The weather was terrible, but driving rain doesn’t stop volunteers from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. They were planting trees donated by Made by the Forge; we’ve done this to help offset CO2 emissions. We were at Levington Lagoon Nature Reserve, and learned that the new belt of trees will soften the edge between grassland and woodland and increase the diversity of habitats. With luck the new trees will attract whitethroat, blackcap and other warblers.

February 2016 - Tree planting funds have again been donated to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. They use the money to buy trees and we are sponsoring, this Spring, two conservation projects: tree planting at Bradfield Woods and tree planting at Levington Lagoon.

Michael Strand the Trusts Development Manager shares below the latest information about what is happening at Bradfield Woods and why their tree planting is so important for the Dormice.

The trees planted by our Junior Rangers on the southern side of Bradfield Woods National Nature Reserve are to link this stronghold for Dormice with the outlying ancient copse named Glebe Wood. The 300 metre stretch of hedgerow which has now been fenced to reduce browsing pressure from deer is hoped to provide a corridor for Dormice to move across the surrounding arable fields. On the seven point scale of success for any reintroduced species, the final seventh point is to determine successful recolonization away from the original reintroduced area. This has happened at Bradfield Woods along the more westerly edges already and it is hoped the hedgerow planting linking Glebe Wood will replicate this success.

Simon Barnes says: “It’s all about connections. A good deal of the Trust’s work involves corridors: joining up good bits of habitat so that the wildlife can commute from one to the other. It’s a principle operated by conservation organisations across the world. The Trust has established corridors between woods that are now used by dormice.” Suffolk Wildlife Trust magazine, January 2016.

Made by the Forge is proud that it is planting trees and proud that its hand-made, wrought iron products are Blacksmith made in Suffolk. We make every effort to offset our CO2 emissions; and make sure that what the company takes from the Suffolk environment, it puts back into the Suffolk environment.

Trees planting by Junior Rangers

Trees planting by Junior Rangers on the southern side of Bradfield Woods National Nature Reserve

Richard has a passion for the countryside and all the fine things that go with it. Planting trees, growing vegetables and fruit, preserving, cooking and eating it. His love of the environment has led him to pledge planting trees to offset CO2.

Planting takes place once a year in the Spring based on the number of orders in the previous year. Follow our blog for updates or scroll down to read the history.

Self-sufficiency is the driving force behind the business. He believes in having a quality product that will last a life time and that good living should not cost the earth.

Singing Wren

Singing Wren by Stewart McDonald

September 2015 - In the Spring of 2015 Made by the Forge donated money again, from each product sold, to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. This helped to buy trees to plant on newly acquired land at Ager Fen.

SWT purpose is to help regenerate this land, which has been extensively farmed, and let nature return and thrive. The trees were planted by volunteers so all the money we gave the Trust was spent on trees which is what our tree planting pledge is all about.

Below is a recent update from Will Cranstoun the West Suffolk Sites Manager.

"The trees at Grove Farm have established themselves well in somewhat hot and dry conditions. We (the reserve staff) have been going over frequently to water them making sure their roots get off to the best start. We also placed bark chippings around their base to retain moisture and stop the ground drying out. As you may be aware we have also substantially protected the trees from deer browsing by means of wooden tree guards. I’m sure they will go for from strength to strength, moreover with all the recent rain and dare I say it a mild winter I have heard being forecast. "

March 2015 - We are delighted to be donating to the Suffolk Wildlife trust again to enable tree planting to reinstate part of an ancient green lane on the Arger & Spouse’s Vale land. Our donation will be spent on purchase of the trees, stakes and guards needed to link up an important part of our natural and cultural heritage. The map below shows the area to be planted and to the west the ancient hedge abounds with thick hazel coppice and mature oaks, and bluebells adorn the ground come April. The future seed source from this hedge will enable a mixed landscape to develop around it to reflect the furzy heathland from the past.

Dormice do not travel on the bare ground - linking habitat is essential

Volunteers with Suffolk Wildlife Trust planting in Spring 2014 to link up Bradfield Woods with surrounding areas.

Made by the Forge has donated all its tree planting money for the year 2013 to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. This has helped them buy trees for their Dormouse conservation project. The trees were planted over a weekend by volunteers so none of our tree money is spent on anything other than trees. We were kindly invited to Arger Fen and Spouse’s Vale to see for ourselves how the Trusts work is benefitting the countryside and especially the habitat for the Dormouse. Find out more at www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org

Tree planting


Supporting Suffolk Wildlife Trust in 2013 our donation helped to plant 1000m of hedgerow to re-establish critical habitat connections for the native dormouse. The hedgerow is planted between Bentley Long Wood and Brockley Wood.

03 January 2013 Happy New Year
We are thrilled to be supporting the Suffolk Wildlife Trust in their plight to save and protect the Dormouse. Made by the Forge’s tree quota for 2012 is helping to plant 1000m of hedgerow to re-establish critical habitat for this tiny weeny mouse.

06 December 2012 - Hedgerow trees progressing well. We are delighted to say that the majority of the hundreds of trees we planted early on this year 2012 are looking very healthy and strong. We pledge that every product sold has one tree planted to offset CO2 and to give a little back to our wonderful environment.

tree planting

May 2011
On Saturday I decided to take a visit to see how the new trees that we planted in February this year are getting on. There are 2 common names related to how much energy we all use which are: A ‘carbon footprint’ (how much CO2 you produce) and ‘Offsetting’ (which is a way of cancelling out the CO2). We wanted to take an active role in this area of our business and so planting a tree in Suffolk for every pan rack or utensil rack we sell seems a logical thing to do. Here is a photo of the new Suffolk hedgerow which despite the drought seems to be doing really well
.Tree Planting

 

5 April 2011 - Trees in and looking good. The rain has given our new trees lots of life to climb their plastic tubes into the world. They seem to be growing fast. They are really looking healthy and good.

planting

Mr Castleden with the saplings.

Richard with keen helpers James and Sam.

29 feb 2011 - Preparing the ground for the trees
It always seems that any sort of preparation before a task takes so long. The early heat wave on Sunday made for a perfect day preparing the ground for our young trees. We took Mr Castleden’s advice and put down a membrane so that the little trees don’t have to compete with the weeds for moisture. The actual line took a lot longer to get perfectly straight than expected. Planting will resume for our pledge at the weekend.

giving planting

10th April 2010 - The trees I pledge to plant every year have finally turned up. They went astray somewhere but are now here in Suffolk and are in the process of being planted. This year I have approximately 150 of varying species.

giving

2009 - I have pledged to plant a tree for each pan rack that I sell so that I can offset some of the carbon that is produced in the forging process.

 

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