Reforesting Eden Valley
Along with providing a tranquil, natural place for people to be buried and to visit our main aim at Eden Valley is to return nearly 14 acres of grassland back to its natural state of deciduous woodland. Thousands of years ago the vast majority of the British Isles were covered by woodland which has been steadily eroded over hundreds of years by human action. Our aim is to return our landscape back to what it once was.
We have already started reforesting the landscape by planting over 400 trees and over the coming years and decades we will plant thousands more. Our process is simple, where someone is buried, if they chose to, we, or their friends and family will plant a tree on their plot. We inter people and plant trees in concentrated areas for 2 or 3 years so as to establish a network of young trees before moving on to a new adjacent area, where we will start the reforesting process again.
At Eden Valley we are fortunate to have 8 acres of beautiful ancient woodland, which in early May erupt in a sea of English bluebells. For the past 6 years we have been interring people and planting trees next to or close to this woodland edge. By planting our trees close to the ancient woodland we are giving our young trees the best possible start in life. They benefit from the protection that the ancient woodland gives them from high wind and storms and also from the myriad of insects and butterflies that are drawn to the woodland edge. These insects and butterflies will go on to pollinate the flowers and blossoms of the trees we plant, establishing further generations of trees.
A further benefit that the ancient woodland gives us is its vast network of underground roots and bacterial chains, the wood wide web. This underground system can act as an organic, intelligent body, working to protect the woods as a whole, rather than just as individual trees. Over time, as our trees grow and their roots spread they will be able to tap into this system and assimilate themselves into the ancient woodland, blurring the borders between the ancient and the new. Human understanding of the wood wide web is still in its infancy but for a better understanding of what we think we know so far and of trees in general, an excellent book to read is ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ by Peter Wohlleben. It is because of the wood wide web that we do not, unlike some other woodland burial grounds, inter people in the ancient woodland, as to do so would be to break the chains and networks of this amazing natural system.