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Residents or visitors walking through the open meadows may have noticed the volunteers have started to remove the protective tubes from the new trees. When the trees were planted in November 2012 as a Jubilee Wood, they were just sticks about 18 inches high, and many of us doubted they would ever grow, especially as when we planted them the ground was waterlogged and the rain was driving down like stair rods!Planting 2 13 14 Posts were inserted to construct a fence barrier to keep the horses and deer out of the area.

Planting Days034

George and Daphne Burnett and their family came to help with even the youngest member of the family lending a hand!

Since then, 8 years of growth and massive variations in weather have seen the Jubilee Wood grow to where it is now necessary to remove the protective tubes from the trees. The tubes are biodegradeable but it would be many more years before they broke down of their own accord, and we have all seen new woodland or hedges looking unsightly as these tubes are left to rot.

Over the years volunteers have regularly lifted the tubes to remove invasive weeds choking the young trees, and sadly some young trees died during the drought summers we have experienced since. Everyone knew there would be some natural thinning of the trees, and the gaps left have allowed the rermaining trees to flourish and establish themselves. Some varieties grow faster than others. Oaks are slow growing, but species like Hornbeam have grown well and need the tubes removed to allow them to spread.

Confused Tree

The tubes have protected the young trees, but one of two took a wrong direction when growing resulting in a rather unusual shape as this picture demonstrates. This shaped tree would cost a fortune in a garden centre! We wonder what this tree will look like in 20 years time? Volunteers will continue to remove the tubes on the remaining trees, and as there are approximately 1,000 trees to de-tube this will take a while.

Some visitors have asked whether with the constant demand for building land this area will be given up for housing. The answer to this is "No". Mr & Mrs Burnett have generously given over this land to Fields in Trust, an organisation championing green spaces and protecting them for the future. They retain ownership and this will be passed on down through the family, but denoting the land a Fields in Trust area protects it from future development and an area for residents of Ashtead to enjoy in perpetuity.

If you are interested in volunteering to help maintain the meadows for future residents of Ashtead, please email us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.We meet on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, with occasional extra Tuesday's when the volume of work necessitates this. The work is interesting and no special skills are required. The volunteers are a great group of people - men and women - and everyone enjoys the work and the banter.

Don't want to volunteer but are keen to support the work in another way? We always welcome donations, big and small. Without Village Day and the River Mole Fun Day this year, two sources of funds have disappeared, like it has for many charities and other organisations. To fill this gap we would welcome donations and please contact us on the email address above and we will send you details. Many thanks in advance.

Not keen on parting with money, but are using online purchasing of goods and services? Then visit www.easyfundraisingorg.uk. and search for "Friends of Rye Meadows". Once registered visit one of the 4,200 online shops to make your purchase. All it costs you is what you buy. It is the retailer who then make the donation to us!

You buy what you need and we get a donation. As the meerkat says - "Simples!"