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The embers from Bonfire night are still glowing, but lumberjacks are already busy harvesting Christmas trees in the Forestry Commission's Kielder Water & Forest Park.
The first of this year’s festive crop has been dispatched from the 62,000 hectare (155,000 acre) Northumbrian wilderness, which supplies giant trees up to 60 foot tall to stand in prime locations across the UK.
And a trio of Kielder’s finest Sitka spruce are also being exported to Naples and Rome in Italy and Athens in Greece.
Meanwhile for the tenth year running the Houses of Parliament have ordered a 45 footer to stand at the base of Big Ben and become possibly the most-photographed Christmas tree in the world.
Ian Green, from the Forestry Commission, said:
“Getting trees felled and out of the forest is a massive undertaken and it’s important work is done in good time given the extreme weather conditions we have had in Borders over the past few years. Whether it’s the centre of Glasgow, or Westminster Hall, Northumberland’s finest will be spreading cheer through the land and now into Europe.”
Aside from Parliament’s tree, up to 450 giant specimens are being harvested and transported by East Anglian-based Elveden trees which specialises in this kind of work. Their link-up with the Forestry Commission has proved successful in promoting Kielder’s reputation for growing high quality trees.
The revellers need have no fear that they have been forgotten as forest chiefs get set to launch public sales of smaller spruce, pines and firs.
Trees will be available at Kielder Castle from 11am to 4pm during the first three weekends of December. To find out more about Christmas at Kielder go to www.visitkielder.com or call 01434 220242.
The Forestry Commission’s Rothbury office on Walby Hill will also be selling trees from 9 to 11 December, 9am to 4pm. For further information on 01669 620062.
And the sales outlet in Hamsterley Forest, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, runs daily from 10am to 4pm, 1 to 19 December. During weekends a green father Christmas – the traditional British Santa – will be in residence. Calls to 01388 488312.
You could also win two tickets for next year's Summer forest concerts by posting a picture of a your fabulous tree on the Forestry Commission's Flicker site at www.flickr.com/groups/gbforestrycommission. The one judged to be the best decorated will carry off the brilliant prize for its owner.
Note to Editors
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For more information go to www.forestry.gov.uk/NorthEastEngland
Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.