This is the dead ash tree on the Stonesfield straight that galvanised the Environment group to form the ‘Stonesfield Tree Planters’. There are just under 50 ash trees on the straight increasingly affected by ash dieback. Most of these trees will have to be taken down in the next five years. This is the moment to refresh and renew trees to replace these ash trees for the future.

During 2022 Stonesfield Tree Planters have been steadily planning to refresh and renew the trees on the Stonesfield Straight (Woodstock Road). We are fortunate to be part of the ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’ initiative with trees arriving from the Woodland Trust in late October. The choice of trees has fluctuated as we consider the hot dry summer and look to the future. Trees will also come from a Blenheim bursary, a grant from Stonesfield community trust and trees that many residents have been growing in the village (astonishingly so far over 80 trees) some of these trees will be planted on the straight.

With all our applications and discussions (landowners, farmers, highways, the Parish Council and throughout the village) we have been clear the the tree planting is part of the ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’ and celebrates her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. Our longer term plan is to plant a tree for everyone in the village.

We will report our activities on the Environmental News (link below) and in The Stonesfield Slate.

Anyone interested in finding out more about our projects or in joining our group please email John Sampson.

Boundary Marker

Stonesfield is  in the Cotswold Area of Outstanding National Beauty (CAONB). As well as the trees, in 2022 we obtained agreements to allow a marker stone for the Stonesfield Straight (Woodstock Road) in the area where the CAONB boundary crosses the straight at the Blenheim end. There has been a recent government change to the name now called Cotswolds National Landscape. (almost all other Areas of Outstanding National Beauty have not changed their wording)

The stone was installed in December 2022. It can be seen on the left side just after the Combe turn as you come towards Stonesfield just before the large beech tree.

The stone and its installation was generously funded by Stonesfield residents.

How are we doing and the challenges ahead.

31 January 2023:  We have planted 336 trees and hedging plants.

The photo on the left is the final planting is the final planting of 62 trees on the Ruddy Lane footpath off The Ridings. This is Ditchley land and they gave us five wild service trees to plant.

As you go up the Oxfordshire Way, off Laughton Hill, you can also see the trees planted along the ridge and the hedge laying.
The challenge ahead is to support the trees over the first years, we have been given a figure of 30% for trees that fail to grow. This will be largely down to lack of water in the dry spells in the summer. We will be looking for your help with watering- more details will follow later in the spring.


Growing trees from seed

Pictured is a Wych Elm seedling grown from seed in 2022, for planting in winter 2022/3. We have planted the wych elm trees in three sites around stonesfield including 27 in stocky wood where the seeds came from.

If you grow trees we will aim to plant them. As a general rule seeds should be planted at twice as deep as the size of the seed. If you keep the pots with air under them roots that grow out of the pot will air dry and the tree will form more roots in the pot. Breaking the dormancy of seeds can be tricky needing patience, so do check the best way to do it.

More information of growing trees from seed can be found using this link.

How to grow trees from seed handbook

Further projects in the planning.
  • We are looking for a site for a Community Orchard. Any thoughts or ideas? Please get in touch
  • We are at advanced discussions with Highways to use natural regeneration’ to establish trees. This has not been tried before by the highways department.
  • We have learnt the art of hedgerow management and have been laying the hedge on the Oxfordshire Way above Laughton hill. We have been planting trees along local walks. We also have agreement from a local landowner to extend a local woodland area as and when we have spare trees.
  • We have been exploring the possible planting of a tiny forest, although interesting the support to the local wildlife is less substantive than expected. It is also unlikely that the potential site will be available. Tiny Forest handbook

We are grateful for the support and encouragement we have from The Blenheim Estate, Ditchley Estate, Wychwood Forest trust, the Evenlode Catchment Partnership, Stonesfield Community Trust and Stonesfield Parish council. Above all it is the support from within our village that makes progress possible. Do get in touch if you would like to help with any aspect. We will need help raising funds to make plans happen.

We will report our activities on the Environmental News  and in The Stonesfield Slate.