Spring is a time for regeneration and at Tapeley Park Gardens, Instow Community Primary School children joined head gardener, Chris Barham, to help with a special tree planting ahead of its end of March opening for public visitors.

As well as marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project, the new tree was also a symbolic replacement. Tapley Park Gardens was particularly badly hit by February’s Storm Eunice, losing several trees, including two Monterrey Pines which were over one hundred years old.

There was cause for optimism however, as Year 6 members of the Instow Primary School Eco Team (Ava, Christina, Josh and Kiaran) donned spades and watering cans to bed in a new Elm sapling beside the Tapeley gift shop. Instow Primary School has had the use of a local woodland to teach forest school skills, which is owned by Christie Estates, for the past six years and this has greatly benefited the children’s woodland knowledge.

Learning Mentor and Forest School Teacher: Mrs Harvest, explained that the school is very keen on encouraging environmental awareness, recycling and composting food waste for use in the school garden. All children at the school are taught forest school skills in line with the ‘leave no trace’ ethos.

The memory of storms was fresh in the mind still as the children reflected on the impact of power cuts. “It made us realise how much electricity we use,” said Josh. “We got used to the power cut, but we were very pleased when it came back on!”

Mrs Harvest added, “There were many tales at school of how the children dealt without electricity or the internet during the power cuts, and this led to some interesting conversations about how people managed in the past.”

The tree planting forms part of a wider programme of tree planting on the estate. Chris Barham said, “