Spruced upped for Lyndhurst High Street
Robin Cutler, Forest Craftsperson at the Forestry Commission
Once again this year, the Forestry Commission has given Lyndhurst an impressive Christmas tree, positioned in the High Street for all to see.
Last week, my colleague Ray Stride and I carefully selected a Norway spruce that was just the right size and shape from an Inclosure, near Lyndhurst and delivered the Christmas tree to The Fox and Hounds public house on the High Street.
I hand-cut the 23 year old tree and Ray raised it off the forest floor using specialist rigging and a Telehandler. Then we put it on the back of our truck ready for delivery.
The tree stood unlit in anticipation of Saturday 26 November for the official switch on ceremony. There was a grand opening in the village with lots of family entertainment and late night shopping.
Like all trees grown on the Public Forest Estate the spruce has FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, meaning that at least another tree is planted for every one harvested to ensure the long-term success of working forests.
Trees are at the very centre of everything I do and of course, of our Christmas, so I am delighted that we can bring such a splendid Norway spruce to the residents and visitors of Lyndhurst. It symbolises the wonder of our woodlands and in particular our much-loved New Forest.
I think it's wonderful to have a tree brought from the local forest to stand in the centre of Lyndhurst, which after all has been the ‘Capital’ of the New Forest since William the Conqueror established the area as a royal hunting ground in 1079.
My colleagues and I are getting everything ready to start our Christmas tree sales centre for the Forestry Commission at New Park, in Brockenhurst. There are lots of other Forestry Commission Christmas tree sales centres right across England, offering a variety of trees that are grown in the UK in a well-managed way.
At New Park we’ll be selling two different species: Nordmann fir and Norway spruce. The two trees are subtly different and it’s really personal preference that sways the choice of one over the other. Indeed, over the years I’ve noticed that people seem to choose whichever one they grew up having as their Christmas tree, as to them the tree of their childhood remains the definitive Christmas tree.
We get asked a lot if we sell a non-drop tree and the answer is no. None of the trees are non-drop, however, if kept in the right conditions (cool and with plenty of water) they should all hold their needles well, the best for needle retention being the Nordmann Fir, which makes it the most popular choice. The Nordmann has bigger, smoother needles than the spruce and looks super, but the spruce is wonderfully bushy and smells very Christmassy.
Of course, being involved in sustainable forestry for as long as I have, I would always recommend you buy a real Christmas trees. Did you know that real trees use ten times fewer materials and five times less energy than artificial trees? And they are completely biodegradable.
We only sell trees that are grown in the UK and this year, we are giving away a free baby Christmas tree sapling with every tree sold. So you’ll be able to plant and grow your own real Christmas tree for the future. It will also come with a certificate of authenticity to guarantee the trees quality, which will be signed by Santa himself.
For more information about Real Christmas trees visit www.forestry.gov.uk/christmas