Planting began this week for Alison’s Wood, a new forested area on Acton Green Common in Chiswick.
Alison Wood lived for many years in Chiswick, and brought up her family here. Two years ago she heard that her days were to be short, and she determinedly set about putting her affairs in order. One of the things she wanted most to do was to plant a forest, partly to benefit nature, partly so that her family, husband Richard Atkinson and daughters Lucy and Polly, would have somewhere to come and remember, partly for the community to enjoy. After much hunting for the right site, she contacted Abundance London and we were able to liaise with Ealing Council to find a wonderful place for her and work together on the kind of woodland we would plant. Before her death we were able to share the planting plans and this week the first trees and plants went in. We are delighted to have been able to help bring this project to realisation (and of course we are always happy to improve the biodiversity and beauty of Chiswick).
The pun of planting Alison Wood’s Wood is not lost on us, as it was not lost on her. Although we only knew Alison in her final months it was a pleasure and a privilege to work with such an amazing person, and we are only sorry it was in such circumstances and for such a short time.
Alison’s Wood will take shape over the next few months and years, and develop into a valuable, tranquil and beautiful part of Chiswick. Ealing Council, and especially their designer Tom Jennings, have been wonderfully welcoming to the idea. The woodland will mainly comprise birch and pear trees, underplanted with cyclamen, foxgloves, bluebells, ferns and geraniums, as well as hosts of spring bulbs. The area is sheltered from the road by a series of hibernacula, log piles that provide an embracing structure and – more importantly – overwintering places for wildlife, and there will be a couple of new benches for visitors to rest and enjoy the area. Wildflower areas will be left to naturalise.
Over the years the woodland will evolve and grow until Alison’s Wood is a natural and mature part of Chiswick, long after we current inhabitants have passed on.