November 2017 -
It’s Thursday 27th
November 2017, 9:30am and the temperature is just touching 3˚C; it’s the morning after an incredibly stormy night. For most people today is ‘business as usual’, but that’s not the case for 150 of Premier’s customers and guests as they journey from across the country to the jewel, that is Heartwood Forest, hidden in the Hertfordshire countryside.
Located just north of St Albans, in the quaint and picturesque village of Sandridge lies Heartwood Forest; initially mixed farm land, Heartwood Forest was acquired by the Woodland Trust in 2008 and its vast 347 hectare (860 acre) estate is now home to pockets of existing ancient woodland and new plantations, combined with wild flower meadows and a serene community orchard.
Arriving at this stunning Woodland Trust site, Premier’s guests were greeted with a choice of freshly brewed teas and coffees as well as hot sandwiches produced locally by Sandridge Stores , an excellent and friendly family run business who produce some of the finest pasties and soups you will ever taste. After breakfast introductory speeches were given by Premier Paper and TV’s Julia Bradbury before taking to the field with a shovel and a sapling for a special tree planting demonstration from Wilder Thing's Tim Kirwin.
Premier’s customers and their guests worked tirelessly alongside the Woodland Trust and Julia Bradbury to plant saplings of native trees such as cherry, hazel, oak and dog wood. The team of dedicated planters went above and beyond the Woodland Trust’s target of 2,000 trees to ensure 3,000 saplings in total were planted on the day. This planting day will be one of the last at Heartwood as the Woodland Trust’s planting project at the site comes to a close; Premier and their customers have come together to plant trees at Heartwood Forest for the last four years. As the trees mature the new woodland will provide not only a stunning landscape with obvious environmental benefits but also habitats to an array of wildlife; from buzzards to woodpeckers, foxes to deer and countless species of butterfly and other insects native to the area.
Back at base, a lunch of homemade soup and pasties was being prepared signalling the end of a good mornings work. Many of the guests were then treated to a guided walk through Heartwood Forest and all went away with Woodland Trust goody bags containing copies of Julia Bradbury’s latest book and DVD. Reflecting on the day, Hussein Ismail, marketing executive for the Premier Paper Group commented, “It’s been an excellent event, the weather has been on our side, perfect for planting trees although the flint filled ground proved to be challenging. Our tree planting days provide a great platform for our customers and their clients to showcase their dedication to the environment by actually coming out, planting trees and helping to make a real difference.” From its launch to beginning of 2017, Premier’s Carbon Capture programme has raised over £500,000 for the Woodland Trust.