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Our Tree Replanting Pledge

For every healthy tree which has to be removed from our sites, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust pledges to plant two new trees.

In As You Like It, Duke Senior talks of the positive benefits of nature, including “tongues in trees”. Indeed, we need to listen carefully to those who expound the positive qualities of our arboreal neighbours. Not only do they release oxygen and store carbon, but it has also been suggested that they help reduce our blood pressure and make us feel less stressed. Across our sites we have several thousand trees, including some very historic specimens, such as the Mulberry Tree at New Place, which is believed to be a cutting of the tree that Shakespeare was gifted by King James I and planted at the site.

However, not all of our trees are as long lived as our Mulberry and sometimes we need to remove trees from our sites. We try to let dying trees stand for as long as possible, as they provide excellent habitat for wildlife. However, on some occasions, our trees will need to be reduced to a monolith (cut down to a trunk, without any branches) or completely felled. We have created an area in one of the orchards at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage where felled trees and branches can be stored and left to decompose naturally. A range of organisms will move in to feast on the decomposing wood which, in turn, creates a plentiful food source for other forms of wildlife.

Recognizing the importance of trees, both in terms of sustainability and biodiversity, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has made a commitment to plant two trees for every healthy one that we have to remove from our sites. At the end of each year we will report which trees we have taken down and where their replacements have been planted. It won’t always be possible to plant exactly the same species in the same place, but we will keep a close eye on our tree stock and ensure that the trees we plant suit the existing environment and contribute positively to that site. For example, in our wilding area at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, we won’t always replace fruit trees with exactly the same species, but will consider what we could plant that will provide food and shelter for the wildlife that lives in and around the space.

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