Sir David Attenborough plants a tree for a new woodland in Richmond Park to honour the Late Queen Elizabeth II

Sir David Attenborough has planted an English oak tree to officially open the Platinum Jubilee Woodland, a new woodland in Richmond Park planted as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, today, (Monday 20 March). He was joined by several children from the local area.

The woodland has been planted to celebrate and honour the late Queen Elizabeth II’s lifetime of service.

The tree, chosen by Sir David, is one of the final few to be planted as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, which concludes on 31 March – the end of the planting season in the UK. The project invited people from across the nation to plant trees in honour of Queen Elizabeth II to mark the Platinum Jubilee and benefit future generations.

In all, 70 young broadleaved trees have been planted in the woodland, with help from volunteers and people from the local community, to represent each year of Her Late Majesty’s reign. They include oak, Dutch elm-disease-resistant elm, small-leaved lime, and sweet chestnut trees. They are planted around a focal point which will later incorporate a seating area for rest and reflection. These larger canopy trees are complemented by smaller native trees and hedging such as hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, elder and dogwood.

The woodland provides respite for visitors and creates new habitat to support wildlife, including the endangered white-letter hairstreak butterfly and the cardinal click beetle. The shrubs will also provide shelter and a food source for small mammals and invertebrates.

The woodland was funded by The Royal Parks charity, which manages Richmond Park, alongside generous support from The Friends of Richmond Park, who funded the trees, and players of People’s Postcode Lottery, through a project called ‘Help Nature Thrive’.

Sir David Attenborough, Patron of The Friends of Richmond Park and Queen’s Green Canopy Ambassador, said: “I am thrilled to be opening this new woodland to honour and celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee and life of service. The late Queen was very fond of The Royal Parks and was a great lover of trees, so this is a fitting tribute to her memory.  Its creation also marks the continuing conservation of this protected landscape, and the wonderful wildlife within, so that it can be enjoyed by many generations to come.”

“The Queen’s Green Canopy has created an invaluable national legacy for our children, future generations and the planet itself.”

Paul Richards, Richmond Park Manager, added: “This tranquil new woodland marks 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign by providing a welcoming community space for all.

“We hope that by enhancing the rich diversity of wildlife within this important National Nature Reserve, the woodland will inspire discovery and enjoyment of the natural environment for future generations – and that our youngest visitors especially will enjoy returning over the decades to notice the changes in the woodland as the trees mature.”

Roger Hillyer, Chair of the Friends of Richmond Park, said: “The Friends of Richmond Park are delighted to support the creation of this new woodland as a legacy in honour of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Today’s planting by Sir David and school children from the Friends’ Discoverers educational programme will enhance the diversity of this much-loved National Nature Reserve.”