Creating a living legacy with the Woodland Trust in Wiltshire

Planting a tree is singularly one of  the most important contributions you can make to the natural world either in your garden or the wider landscape. The sense of personal satisfaction in starting something off that will potentially live on for hundreds of years and be of huge benefit to wildlife and the wider ecosystem is an activity everyone should experience in their lifetime. We caught up with National Garden Scheme Assistant County Organiser, Diana Robertson  in Wiltshire to find out more about her tree planting activities in partnership with the Woodland Trust…

The week before Christmas, Wiltshire’s County Organiser, Amelia Tester and Publicity and Booklet Co-ordinator, Tricia Duncan joined Assistant County Organiser Diana Robertson in her field in the wonderful setting of Pewsey Vale looking up at Martinsell Hill to be part of something special; to witness the creation of a new woodland.

“It’s a lovely field,” says Diana describing the two-acre field behind her house. “We’d used it for meadow hay for years, but I started to think why am I looking at this empty field?”

Having seen an advert for the Woodland Trust and knowing about their partnership connection with the National Garden Scheme, she thought it would be a lovely idea to leave something for the next generation.

Diana contacted the Woodland Trust, who at all times were wonderfully helpful, and discussed with them the aspect of the field and what she wanted to achieve.

“They helped me complete the forms for a grant and suggested the trees and shrubs to be planted and how best to plant up the area, incorporating my wishes to have a wide path around the plantation and two paths threading through.  The Trust also suggested several arboriculturists to help plant the woodland and I chose Gareth Walters and his team from Butcombe in Somerset.”

The field beyond Diana’s house and garden slopes gently down to a culvert before rising up towards the hills.  Not wanting to destroy the view, the Woodland Trust suggested small flowering trees and shrubs at the top of the field going down to the wonderful taller, broadleaf native oaks and beeches at the bottom.

Originally, it was thought that it might take two days to do the planting.  But, with ideal conditions, the 800 tree whips that had been delivered a few days earlier were planted in a day by Gareth and his team of five.  Stakes were put in to show where to plant the whips and then Gareth followed the design, placing the various trees and shrubs by the stakes where they were to be planted.  His team worked away planting the whips and then covering them with the protectors, which were tied into the stakes.

By 2.30pm, two thirds of the 800 saplings had been planted.


“Gareth was a font of knowledge,” says Tricia. “He told us about how trees provide so many benefits from fighting climate change, providing shelter and shade and reducing the impact of flooding. He believed Diana would start to see her woodland emerging in three to five years.”

Very often, if you can’t find Diana in her garden, one can normally find her sitting on a bench looking up to the view of Martinsell Hill with her dogs having a wonderful time running around. Now, she has the added joy of watching the shrubs and trees develop and grow through the seasons from fresh spring growth, spring blossom and summer canopies to the wonderful nuts and berries and colours of autumn.  And, of course, all the wildlife the emerging woodland will attract.

“It’s so satisfying to think that as they grow these trees will bring enjoyment not just to me but to all those who look up to Martinsell Hill from this spot in the years and decades ahead,” says Diana.

The trees and shrubs used: native trees and shrubs were chosen for their ease of growth and maintenance, seasonal colour, variety and attractiveness to wildlife and will, as they mature, provide a biodiverse rich woodland. From a single tree in your garden to a whole woodland, trees can bring a host of benefits for people and wildlife. Discover the Woodland Trust’s advice on what, how and where to plant at Tree Planting Advice – Plant Trees – Woodland Trust

Tree Species List

Alder x 50
Beech x  50
Crab Apple x 50
Field Maple x 75
Hornbeam x 50
Oak x 100
Silver Birch x 50
Walnut x 25
Wild Cherry x 75
Goat Willow x 50
Rowan x 50
Sweet Chestnut x 25
Total 650

Shrub Species List

Dog Rose x 25
Elder x 25
Hazel x 25
Blackthorn x 25
Dogwood x25
Hawthorn x 25
Total 150

For more about the National Garden Scheme’s partnership with the Woodland Trust – and the importance of trees in both a wild and domestic setting – click here

Lead image: Niall Benvie/WTML






Don’t miss a thing

Sign up to hear more about gardens, events and our
activities throughout the year

By completing this form, you confirm that you are aged 18 years or over and that you are happy to receive emails from the National Garden Scheme in accordance with our Privacy Policy. We will never share your details with anyone else without your express permission.



Our donations in 2023

Donor 1
Donor 2 £450,000
Donor 3 £450,000
Donor 4 £450,000
Donor 5 £425,000
Donor 6 £350,000
Donor 7 £350,000
Donor 8
Donor 9 £100,000
Donor 10 £90,000
Donor 11 £80,000
Donor 12 £281,000
Donor 13 £260,000