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National Trust reveals blossoming ambitions for city of culture as ‘Project Blossom’ starts to take root around UK

The new blossom garden in Charterhouse Heritage Park will mark Coventry’s tenure as City of Culture.  And, today, the locations and plans for blossom plantings in Newcastle, Nottingham and Plymouth, first announced in February, have also been revealed.

The National Trust has also confirmed 46 new blossom projects which will be planted on the land in its care across the country over the next few months.

Supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, CJ Wildlife and the National Trust, projects include: creating new orchards at Stourhead in Wiltshire and Antony in Cornwall; the creation of a new edible forest of fruit and nut trees circled with blossoming hedgerows at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire; a new avenue of flowering cherry trees at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire; new blossoming trees to encourage people to explore different areas of the estate at Winston Churchill’s home, Chartwell in Kent; 750 blossoming trees in the South Lakes to become the next generation of blossom trees in the area; replacing lost trees in the orchard at Crom in Northern Ireland and planting new blossom trees across the Gower and Brecon Beacons in Wales.

All plantings will help towards the Trust’s ambitions to plant and establish 20 million trees by 2030 to help in the fight against climate change and to create more homes for nature.  They will also help in its aim to help tackle unequal access to green space across Britain and build on the importance given to green spaces and nature during lockdown when thousands found time spent in nature beneficial not just for their physical health but mental wellbeing too.

Hilary McGrady, Director General of the National Trust said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm from towns, cities and local communities around the country after our first blossom garden was unveiled in London this year.  Bringing more blossom to cities and to National Trust landscapes is an important part of our plans to plant 20 million trees, give more homes to nature and help people connect with nature wherever they are.

“This project goes back to our roots and one of our founders’ key desires – to ensure more people have beautiful spaces to enjoy.”

In Coventry, the trees will be planted in the newly-created 70 acre Charterhouse Heritage Park.  Members of the local community will be asked to share their thoughts on where the blossom garden should be located, its design and uses for the space.

Lucy Reid, National Trust Assistant Director of Operations for the Midlands, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Historic Coventry Trust (HCT) to create what will be a special place for local people to spend time, reflect and connect with nature.

“The Charterhouse Heritage Park is a 70-acre site where land is being regenerated by Historic Coventry Trust to provide an important resource for community health and economic wellbeing on the edge of Coventry City Centre.  A blossom garden will be a beautiful addition to the park and we hope to inspire and work closely with neighbours to leave a lasting legacy.”

Ian Harrabin, Chairman, Historic Coventry Trust, said: “The landscape around Charterhouse has been important to the citizens of Coventry for many years, and the local community have come together to make sure that this space is an oasis for wildlife and people, and an area of calm and tranquillity on the edge of the bustling city.

“Historic Coventry Trust has been working in close partnership with the National Trust at Charterhouse over the last few years, and we are excited to work with them to develop this blossom garden to allow all to escape, refresh and reconnect with nature for many years to come.”

In Newcastle, Urban Green Newcastle, working in partnership with the City Council and the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, will plant 26 ancient varieties of cherry blossom tree, Prunus ‘Tai-Haku’ trees – at Exhibition Park, an area on the outskirts of the city close to the University and the hospital.

The plans are for a double avenue ‘swirl’ of blossom trees by the lake with a circular pathway.

Barbara Hooper, Director, Parks & Allotments at Urban Green Newcastle says: “We are delighted to be part of this wonderful initiative, which will allow us to create a beautiful space in the heart of our park which will, we hope, evoke a sense of wellbeing and calm.  The location of the blossom circle will provide a real focal point, giving visitors a natural place to stop and take a moment to contemplate and embrace nature.”

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