Buriton’s trees: past, present and future

A hundred years ago the hills above the village were all open downland – grazed by thousands of sheep. But reactions to the First World War brought significant changes – and perhaps more are yet to come?

 

An illustrated talk by forestry expert, Mark Broadmeadow, will outline changes that have been made over the last century – and offer an insight into future threats and challenges.

 

With only 5% of the country covered in commercial timber at the beginning of the Great War, there had been worries about supplies of this, then vital, resource.

 

A new commission was established in 1919 to begin the task of expanding Britain’s forests in case of another conflict. And when the local ‘squire’, Lothian Bonham Carter, died in 1927 parts of the estate (Wardown, Head Down and Holt Down) passed to the Forestry Commission and trees were swiftly planted.

 

This provided new jobs in the parish for a period – but the hillsides were changed forever and the open downland scenery above the village is now a thing of the past.

 

But there are now challenges for the future, too, from pests, diseases and climate change.

 

Is the woodland above the village likely to be here in the future? What changes might the next few decades bring?

 

The talk will take place in Buriton Village Hall near Petersfield on Wednesday 16 October, commencing at 7.30pm.