A community woodland, titled 'Rufus Woods', will be created during this year on an area of land belonging to Zetland Estates, as part of a project to celebrate Richmond Castle turning 950 years old in 2021.
The community of Richmond have come together to plan celebrations marking 950 years of Richmond Castle. Championed by the Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association, the community is creating a new woodland for the people of Richmondshire, with plans to plant 950 trees over the next year (and the hope of more to follow as the town head towards the millennium celebrations in 2071). To mark the occasion, the woodland is to be named ‘Rufus Woods’ after Alan Rufus who first commissioned the castle in 1071.
The woodland required an area of land of approximately 1 Hectare in size, in order to accommodate the plans to plant 950 trees. So, Phil Upton, of Purple Creative Studio based on the Aske Estate, approached Lord Ronaldshay to seek support, which was duly given, and Zetland Estates agreed to lease an area of land adjacent to the old historic Racecourse on a long-term arrangement.
Planning and preparation for the new woodland have been going on for nearly 2 years since the 'seed' of an idea was first 'planted' by Jo Foster of Kiss the Moon, whose own business is now based on the Aske Estate. Planning approval for the new woodland was approved by the local authority during 2020 but the Covid pandemic slowed everything down causing delays to the final ground preparations. In February this year, the area of land was staked out and the perimeter fencing was erected.
The trees, all of which are of a native species including Aspen, Silver birch, Beech, Goat willow, Whitebeam and the Common Oak, are being provided by the Woodland Trust. The trees are now on route and due to arrive with Shaun Purkiss, Zetland Estates Forestry Manager, on 23rd March when planting will hopefully begin straight away.