Mel Stride

    CENTRAL DEVON MP Mel Stride joined over 500 other MPs on Friday to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a network of forest conservation initiatives to mark Her Majesty's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth. The trees - two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel – were planted in Bovey Tracey at Pullabrook Wood.

    They were donated thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV, which in April screened a landmark documentary, The Queen's Green Planet. It followed Her Majesty and this ambitious legacy project which brings together her deeply held commitment to the Commonwealth and her little-known love of trees. At the heart of the documentary was a conversation between the Queen and Sir David Attenborough filmed in the gardens of Buckingham Palace last summer. In a rare opportunity to see the Queen talking informally to Sir David, the conversation ranged from climate change, to conkers and of course trees, and was watched by 6.4 million viewers, making it ITV’s most watched factual programme of the year. In support of the programme the Woodland Trust provided 50,000 trees for ITV viewers, and via the Rt Hon Frank Field MP, who conceived the QCC initiative, also offered a special commemorative pack to every MP in the UK.

    Mr Stride was one of 508 MPs who took up the offer, explaining:

    “I was delighted to support a project that not only honours the Queen and her lifetime of service to the Commonwealth but will also be an important boost to the environment for generations to come.”

    Woodland Trust Chief Executive Beccy Speight said:

    “We are delighted so many MPs have decided to join us in our bid to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. We all need trees. They are a cornerstone of our landscape and countryside, forming an essential and cherished part of our cultural identity. They are crucial in improving soil health and water quality, reducing carbon, trapping pollutants, slowing the flow of flood water, sheltering livestock, providing a home for wildlife or a space for us to breathe. I hope the residents of Central Devon will enjoy watching them flourish as part of this wonderful legacy initiative.”

    Maurice Retallick, Deputy Chairman, Dartmoor National Park Authority, added:
    “I am very pleased to represent Dartmoor National Park Authority at this important occasion, raising awareness of the value of our native woodlands which support rare lichens and nesting birds and contribute so much to our wellbeing. Through the Moor than meets the eye Landscape Partnership scheme we have worked with partners the Woodland Trust to help support conservation and restoration work in the beautiful woodlands of the Bovey Valley.”

    For more information visit

    Photo: Central Devon MP Mel Stride planting trees at Pullabrook Wood in Bovey Tracey as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy with Dave Rickwood (Woodland Trust) and Maurice Retallick (Dartmoor National Park).