Working to support our community

A Celebration of Trees 2022

Why are we celebrating trees?

Trees are a familiar presence in our daily lives. We appreciate them for their aesthetic appeal, and providing shade and food, but did you know there's a lot more to trees than colourful leaves and apples?

During National Tree Week, we're celebrating this unique marvel of nature, and all of the many ways trees make our lives and our planet better. We are also talking about how we as a community can help care for our local trees in the face of extreme weather and how you could get involved as a Charlton Kings Tree Guardian.

Did you know that 12,000 new saplings died across Gloucestershire due to the extreme weather?

Our Tree Guardians want to ensure that in 2023 no trees are lost in Charlton Kings through lack of watering.

Each day we will be sharing information about trees, a fun or informative free activity you can take part in, and introducing you to a member of the Tree Guardian Team who can explain better than us why being part of the project is important to them.

If you would like to know more about the Tree Council and their week long celebration click here: National Tree Week - Take part in the Tree Council's Seasonal Campaign

If you would like to know more about Tree Charter day and the Charter of the Forest you can go to our website page here: Tree Charter

Cheltenham has about 6,500 highway trees that are the responsibility of Gloucestershire County Council. Charlton Kings has around 500 highway trees on over 200 streets. The Parish Council is working with local resident and nature lover Mindy Pickering to create a community network which cares for the local street trees to ensure that we don't lose any street trees to drought or disease in Charlton Kings in the future. Check out our dedicated Tree Guardians page by clicking on the image above or on the link here: Tree Guardians

Over the course of the Celebration of Trees week we would love to receive poetry and art relating to trees and nature to share on our website and on social media. Get creative and be inspired by the great outdoors and send it into us to share with your local community.

You can upload your poetry or artwork using the link on the Poetry Page by clicking the image below or here: Poetry Page

If you don't know where to start with poetry, why not join our free poetry workshop on Sunday 27th November in the Stanton Hall from 7.00 - 9.00pm and have a go. Tom Hiron's runs excellent poetry workshops and we are very excited to have him joining us here in Charlton Kings. Scroll down the page to Sunday for more information on how to book!

Day 1 - Saturday 26th November
Listen to a Podcast - Reconnecting with Nature

Quick Fact: Humans also benefit greatly from the presence of trees. Studies have shown that spending time around trees can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve mood.

In this podcast Mindy talks about how reconnecting with nature is both positive for us and the climate.

Reconnecting with Nature

Day 2 - Sunday 27th November
Come along to a poetry workshop in celebration of trees

Tree Poetry Workshop and Open Mic with Poet and Storyteller Tom Hirons

Part of Charlton Kings Parish Council's Celebration of Trees

In this free workshop, Tom will be leading writers through a process to uncover an authentic voice for writing about nature and the wilds, using prompts and conversation, and exploring how we might reimagine the role of the ' nature poet' in our community and culture. In addition, he'll be sharing some of his work and hosting an open-mic event.

The workshop and open mic will run from 7pm until 9.30pm on Sunday 27th November in the Stanton Hall (next to the Charlton Kings Library), Charlton Kings. For the open mic element (after the workshop) attendees are welcome to read work created during the workshop, some of their own poems, or poems by other writers, around the theme of trees.

This is a free event hosted by CK Futures, a Charlton Kings Parish Council Initiative. Donations to the Woodland Trust or Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust are most welcome.

Tickets can be booked via Eventbrite: or by emailing


Tom is a Devon-based writer and storyteller whose particular interests are finding ways to speak and write with eloquence and power, and how those qualities might be cultivated through truth-telling, word-craft, paying keen attention to the world and knowing who we are in this life. His most well-known works are 'Nettle-Eater' and 'Sometimes a Wild God.' As well as having co-founded Hedgespoken Press and Hedgespoken travelling storytelling theatre, Tom is also a wilderness fast guide, a community acupuncturist and a writing and storytelling mentor. He's a father of two young, wild sons and lives just south of Dartmoor. Find out more at

We are delighted to be able to share some poetry now that the workshop is complete.

My Family Tree

By Ian Parker-Dodd

There is a willow tree at my walk's end.

not cropped for withys, nor unblemished

like those that flounce their blond festoons

in wind. Battered, misshapen, holding up

a river bank with roots that never heaved

when cattle lean, its bark can blunt an axe.

But from a soft and open crack ooze tannin

and salicylate that offers stock

relief from pain. We are a willow family,

who've wept, caught fire from friction,

been hollowed out. Cracked, split

but never broken, we've nested strangers

in our branches and we have sung,

like wild harps in the wind,

trauma lullabies to those who are not us.

Tree of Life?

By Ian Parker-Dodd

In Sharp Hill wood

a smooth grey column

was held by roots that rose

and vanished into the earth,

held branches aloft

that clicked and rustled.

We called it beech

and had come here again.

I was fifteen.We all were;

Roger, Mike Anthea Christine.

We'd grown roots here,

been transplanted.

We'd all changed shape.

The breeze stilled. We held our breath.

We stripped. Held hands.

Stumbled over roots.

Encircled the trunk. Pulled

ourselves on to its thin grey bark.

Our buds swelled and burst.

Unfolded leaves took in the light.

Day 3 - Monday 28th November
Newcourt Green Tree Walk

Quick Fact: Trees provide habitats for hundreds of species of animals. While you're probably familiar with British tree dwellers like birds and squirrels, there's a whole host of unique creatures that make their homes in trees.

If you'd like to know more about urban trees and woodland and the creatures that live in these habitats check out this Woodland Trust link for more information - Woodland Trust link

Newcourt Green Self-Guided Walk

Near the small Sainsburys on the Cirencester Road, you will find a peaceful green park with a great number of specimen trees. This is Newcourt Green.

In 2021 a leaflet was produced to tell residents all about these trees and invite them to take a self-guided tree walk. The leaflet maps out all of the trees with information about them so that you do not have to be a tree expert to identify and learn about these magnificent trees. We hope that you enjoy learning about the great variety of trees planted on Newcourt Green.

We give our thanks to Cheltenham Borough Council's Senior Trees Officer and Gloucestershire University for their student's efforts in creating this leaflet.

James said:

"I volunteered to water some new oak saplings on the green near my house which involves carrying a watering can over during prolonged dry spells and drenching them. My children help me with this task, a small guardianship which enthuses them to care for the natural world. We are very lucky to live in a beautiful village with lots of amazing trees; they take little care but that little care is so important to keep the trees healthy, especially in their infancy."

Day 4 - Tuesday 29th November
The Welling Hill Oak Tree Walk

Quick Fact: Some of the oldest known trees in the world include: Methuselah (Great Basin bristlecone pine, 4,852 years old, U.S.); Gran Abuelo (Patagonian cypress, 3,650 years old, Chile); Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi (sacred fig, 2,307 years old, Sri Lanka); the Roman Colosseum (1,950 years old, Italy).

Welling Hill Self-Guided Walk

Quick fact: No other tree species in the UK supports a greater diversity of life than an ancient oak.

In Charlton Kings the Great Oak at Welling Hill is believed to be the biggest and oldest tree in Charlton Kings. It is around 400 years old with a girth of over 6 metres and may have been the "One-Tree Hill" mentioned in Dinah Craik's novel, 'John Halifax, Gentleman', written at nearby Detmore House in 1856.

Since 2017, the Parish Council has been planting specimen trees each year as a contribution to maintaining the beauty and diversity of our green spaces. By arrangement with the Borough Council's Senior Trees Officer, each year we have chosen two or three trees to plant on the Borough Council's five public green spaces in the parish, which they then own and maintain into maturity. Under their care, all fourteen trees are healthy and putting on growth each year, unaware that they are all growing on former rubbish tips!

Although our specimen trees may contribute only a little to the benefits given by the planet's 3,040 trillion trees, each one is special to us and has been chosen with care to plant in its own space: 'Right tree – Right place'. Our trees are not chosen because of a particular ability to capture carbon or reduce pollution, or to produce useful timber. They are chosen to enhance the beauty of our urban environment and to promote people's feelings of wellbeing when admiring their varied sizes, shapes, and colours as they change through the seasons. They are also chosen to increase the diversity of our stock of trees to insure against loss through the many new trees diseases like Ash dieback, Elm disease, Horse Chestnut leaf blight, and the many Phytopthera fungal diseases.

We have chosen new trees appropriate to each green space. On the southern edge of The Beeches, three fastigiate Beech trees, with upward pointing branches, are on their way to create a special year-round silhouette against the southern skyline. The more intimate space of Grange Field has smaller varieties - an unusual weeping white mulberry, and a stunningly beautiful Persian Silk Tree. On Newcourt Green, a potentially bushy Black Walnut has been planted under the distinctively narrow shapes of the Lombardy Poplars, and an increasingly majestic and impressively named Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) represents the very few conifers that shed their leaves in the winter. On Old Pats' playing fields we chose a new Elm hybrid that is resistant to Dutch Elm disease and it is romping away; an unusual orange-winter budded variety of our native Small-Leaved Lime; and for fun, a Strawberry tree whose scientific name Arbutus unedo reflects the fact that if you eat one of its strawberry-like fruits you won't eat a second one! In 2021, the QEII playing field hosted a Japanese Elm that will provide stunning autumn colours for years to come, and in nearby Pine Close, a sturdy Scots Pine.

The 2022 planting season will see a new Austrian Pine in Newcourt Green to increase the perception of winter greenness, and a magnificent (in time) Stone Pine in the Cheltenham Borough Homes' playground on Churchill Drive

Walking through Cheltenham's wonderful parks and green spaces, take a moment to thank our Victorian ancestors who planted the now massive and beautiful trees we enjoy, and be proud that we are continuing their tradition for the sake of our successors – As the Chinese proverb says "The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago -the second best is today".

Rob Williams (2022)

Day 5 - Wednesday 30th November
The Science of Trees & Climate CK Futures Talk

Quick Fact: Trees are a vital part of the Earth's water cycle. They help prevent flooding by absorbing water when bodies of water overflow their banks or drainage systems fail.

Free CK Futures Talk - The Science of Trees and Climate - 30th November.

Join us at Front- Community Hub on London Road as Patricia Thornley, Director of Supergen Bioenergy Hub joins us to discuss the question, do trees really help fight climate change?

In this fascinating talk, Patricia evaluates the science of planting trees to save carbon, discusses other forest and deforestation related controversies and shares some of the ways trees benefit all of us.

The talk will start at 7.30pm on Wednesday 30th November in Community Hub at FRONT, 197 London Road, Sixways, Charlton Kings, GL52 6HU.

This is a free event hosted by CK Futures, a Charlton Kings Parish Council Initiative.You can book this event Free via Eventbrite using this link:

Day 6 - Thursday 1st December
St Marys Church Yard Tree Walk

Quick Fact: In noisy areas trees act as a natural buffer, absorbing noise pollution and masking sounds of village life and traffic with their gentle, rustling leaves and branches.

St. Mary's Churchyard Guided Tree Walk with Chris Chavasse, Cheltenham Borough Council's Tree Officer

Charlton Kings' many trees enhance the beauty of our parish and are good for our well-being. St Mary's Churchyard, at the centre of the historic village, has both native and 'exotic' species. In this free 45 minute guided walk, you will learn about the trees that grow in the churchyard from tree expert and Cheltenham's Tree Officer, Chris Chavasse.

The walk will start at 1pm at the church's lychgate.

This is a free event hosted by CK Futures, a Charlton Kings Parish Council Initiative.

Tickets can be booked via Eventbrite: or by emailing

Day 7 - Friday 2nd December
Plant a tree and help it to thrive

Quick Fact: Part of what helps trees survive is the "wood-wide web" – an underground network of tree roots and microscopic fungal filaments that allow trees to share water and nutrients, and warn each other about dangers like diseases and insect attacks.

On streets, this network is hampered by so many gardens being paved over for car parking and so street trees need a little more love to ensure their survival.

In the summer, could you "adopt" a street tree outside your house and throw a bucket of water over the roots once a week?

Helen said:

"Although I don't have any trees directly outside my house, I live opposite a green verge which has one young tree planted. This summer I noticed that the leaves had turned brown and sun scorched and so my children and I started saturating the ground once a week with buckets of water. We knew that it's better to water less often but with greater volumes of water. It's very difficult to over water a tree so we knew we weren't going to do any harm. It was such a simple thing to do but we think it probably saved the tree."

Do you plan to plant any trees this winter?

Now is the perfect time to plant your bare root trees. Just think, if you plant trees now future generations of Charlton Kings residents could be sitting beneath them in hundreds of years.

Check out our infographic with information on how to care for saplings when planting.

Local organisations have been busy planting trees this year

In January the Parish Council replaced some of the hedging on Grange Field with additional hornbeam whips after some of the previous year's planting perished due to periods of drought in the previous summer. This loss and need to replace started the idea that Tree Guardians were needed in Charlton Kings.

In February the Parish was gifted two oak trees by the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire which were planted on Newcourt Green on the Cirencester Road as part of the The Queen's Green Canopy. This was a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee which invited people from across the United Kingdom to "Plant a Tree for the Jubilee. The planting groups consisted of students from Holy Apostles Primary School and Charlton Kings Junior Schools as well as MP Alex Chalk, Ex-chair of the Parish Council, Rob Williams, and Parish Councillor Duncan Munro who was representing the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire.

Also in February the Community Allotment Plot planted 4 fruit trees, purchased using funds raised by selling plants at the Autumn Fayre in 2021. Since then, they have ordered 3 more fruit trees using a grant from Charlton Kings Parish Council to further establish the "Jubilee Orchard" which they hope will provide free fruit to local residents in years to come.

Fast forward to the new tree planting season and class 4H at Charlton Kings Junior School will soon be planting 3 Wild Cherry Trees gifted by CK Futures as a prize for the Nature Competition set by CK Futures and Planet Cheltenham.

The Parish Council is in the process of facilitating the planting of three mature trees on the roundabout of the Charlton Kings Cemetary as a gift to the outgoing Councillors in 2022 including the previous Chair of the Parish Council, Rob Williams.

The Charlton Park Residents Association has been gifted 15 saplings (including Hazel, Crab Apple and Rowan) by The Woodland Trust as part of the Queens Green Canopy in Celebration of the late Queen's Platinum Jubilee earlier this year. The trees are due to arrive early in November and local residents are creating a rota to assist with the maintenance of the young trees as they start to grow.

Cheltenham Tree Group

There are a number of ways for members of the public to obtain affordable trees. In Cheltenham we are lucky to have the Cheltenham Tree Group.

They formed 35 years ago and are a charitable group that supplies native British trees for local planting, works with the local authority to enhance and protect Cheltenham's tree population, and supports tree-related charities at home and overseas.

  • They grow and supply affordable British trees and hedging for Cheltenham and beyond
  • They protect trees through active involvement in Cheltenham Borough Council's process for controlling works to local trees
  • They improve lives through trees facilitating tree planting initiatives in the developing world and here in Gloucestershire

Their annual running costs which consist of purchasing new stock, ground rent and tools are covered by member subscriptions of £5 per year.

They cultivate bare rooted whips for 12-24 months and sell them on at a profit to members of the public, local organisations and Cheltenham Borough Council.

All profits made are used to make donations averaging £1000 per annum to tree related projects mainly in Africa and the UK.

Anyone can help their efforts simply by subscribing as a member and if they wish, volunteering to help plant, nurture & sell our tree stocks at the nursery and assisting in maintain their grounds and equipment.

They have regular work sessions once a month throughout the year to carry out weeding, watering, mulching and pruning.

Volunteer activities culminate in a tree sale at weekends between mid-Nov and mid-Feb followed by planting of new stocks end of Feb/early March.

If you'd like to join the group as a financial supporter, or to help with activities on a monthly or occasional basis, subscription is £5 per year.

For more information, or to subscribe, please email

They have a Facebook Page at

Check out our Top Tips from Cheltenham Borough Council's Tree Officer, Chris Chavasse!

Day 8 - Saturday 3rd December
The Million Tree Pledge Podcast

Quick Fact: Trees are also extremely important in helping our planet stay healthy and functional. Not only do they produce oxygen, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, keeping Earth cool, and filter toxins like nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide out of the air we breathe.

Listen to a Podcast - The Million Tree Pledge Podcast

The Million Tree Pledge

Laura Gelder-Robertson from Glow Innovation discusses her ambitious plans to help 1,000,000 small businesses to reach net zero by 2025 and to plant 1,000,000 trees through the Million Tree Pledge by 2030.

Day 9 - Sunday 4th December
The Guardians of Trees

For full information on the Tree Guardians, please check out the Tree Guardians page.

Below is a quick overview of what we hope to achieve with the Tree Guardians Community.

The Parish Council is working with local resident and nature lover Mindy Pickering to create a community network which cares for the local street trees.

There are a number of levels to which you might want to get involved.

1 - Tree Buddy

Begin to notice more about the trees where you live and walk regularly and water your chosen trees in times of drought. Use the feedback form on this page if you spot any problems - that's it! We would love you to get in touch and tell us that you're getting involved but you don't have to.

2 - Tree Friends

Do what a Tree Buddy does but also...

Adopt a road and report on the condition of the trees in that road every 6 months. We promise it's a really short form (see the example below). This logs any less urgent actions that need to be taken to protect the health of the tree. We can then feed this back to the appropriate department for them to take action.

3 - Tree Champion

Do what a Tree Buddy and Friend does but also...

You might have the time to join Mindy's team and help us decide the future direction of the Tree Guardians. We might want to run projects or events relating to trees or maybe in time, map the various trees in Charlton Kings so that every tree ends up with a Guardian in the next 5 years.

Whatever level you want to get involved at, we'd really appreciate your help in highlighting the work of the Tree Guardians by sharing social media posts, encouraging other people to get involved and generally tell your friends and colleagues what you do and why it's important to you.

Email Mindy on

If you'd like to know more about native, non-native and naturalised trees of Britain check out this Woodland Trust link for more information - Woodland Trust link

Last updated: Sun, 23 Apr 2023 19:14