Aylsham infant school children help plant trees at Hainford woodland burial park

St Michael's Nursery and Infant School pupils helping plant trees at Hainford burial park. Phoebe Pa

St Michael's Nursery and Infant School pupils helping plant trees at Hainford burial park. Phoebe Paul, 6 and Harris Risebrow, 6, helping Mark Webster from The Conservation Volunteers, Norwich. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A huge natural development is taking root in north Norfolk after a group of green-fingered school children from Aylsham got their hands messy planting some trees.

More than 500 of them were planted today (Friday) with the help of around 60 youngsters from St Michael's Infant School. They spent the day digging in to plant a generous amount of saplings.

The project, at Hainford, is taking shape with the help of the Woodland Trust's Jubilee Woods project, which aims to plant six million trees to mark the Queen's 2012 Diamond Jubilee.

Farmer Andrew Morton is transforming 18.5 acres of his land off Old Church Road into a woodland burial park.

Five of those acres were already established woodland, but Mr Morton aimed to plant 4,800 more native trees including oak, birch, crab apple, Scots pine and lime.

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He said: 'The children had lots of fun and the day went really well. We had two groups, one from year one and one from year two. They were all very, very enthusiastic. They loved running around outside'

The site overlooks the former home of Robert Marsham, founder of the science of phenology – the study of the influence on nature of changes in seasons and climate.

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Marsham founded phenological recording in 1736 when he started to write down 'indications of spring' at his home in Stratton Strawless. His work is being continued today by the Woodland Trust through its Nature's Calendar project.

Mr Morton said: 'The fact that this land used to be owned by Robert Marsham makes the site totally unique as a Jubilee Wood.'

Mr Morton's plans include a 150-seat ceremonial hall and landscaping including a lake and wild flower meadows.

But the planning application was not without its opponents.

Broadland District Council approved the scheme in August 2012 after hearing objections from Hainford Parish Council about an increase in traffic and noise in the village.

Mr Morton hoped the site would be up and running by July this year.

'Planting these trees will help to massively expand the woodland area and it's really taking shape now.

'It's great for the children to help because it gets them out in open, in the fresh air and gets them in touch with nature - they all loved it.'

Conservation volunteers and Andrew Long from Moleson Trees also helped to plant the trees.

• Is your school taking part in something new and exciting? Contact newsdesk on 07501 481521 or email newsdesk@archant.co.uk.

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