Woodland planted as memorial to Northamptonshire farmer scoops runner-up title in national contest

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A new woodland created in memory of a Northamptonshire farmer has been named runner-up in a national competition.

Ian’s Wood was planted last November by Angela Wooliscroft at the family farm in West Haddon after her husband Ian died unexpectedly in September, aged 51.

The couple had decided to sign up to the Woodland Trust’s flagship MOREwoods scheme for a project that included turning outbuildings into holiday accommodation.

Angela decided to carry on with the application for 700 trees and planted them with help from family friends and young farmers as a lasting tribute to her husband.

Earlier this year the charity launched a competition for anyone who had created woodland under the initiative and invited BBC Countryfile Diaries presenter Paul Martin to join its chief executive Beccy Speight and director of Woodland Creation John Tucker to pick their favourites.

As well as being named runner up, Angela’s 0.6 hectare wood was also given the ‘staff favourite’ title following a vote among the charity’s employees.

Paul, whose own tree-planting has featured on the seasonal Countryfile spin-off, said: “Angela’s is a beautiful human story. The wood is her balm. We loved the fact that the thought of a woodland was a real inspiration to her to carry on, and that it brought family and community together.”

Angela, who will receive a wooden plaque, said: “After Ian died, keeping busy was my only salvation so I decided that I would carry on with the grant and ordered the 700 trees and plant them as a lasting tribute.

“It was quite a daunting task for me and my three children, but I couldn’t believe it when all our friends and family and local young farmers offered to help – I was so touched.

“Ian’s parents were there to make teas and provide food and by 1pm the task was done – it looked fantastic and Ian would have been so chuffed.

“So despite going to hell and back over the last few months we have managed to bring a group of people together of all ages to plant a lasting tribute to Ian – one that will not only add to the countryside but one which will enhance and bring an even wider diversity of flora and fauna to the area.

“I visit the trees most days and it is now known as Ian’s Wood – it is great comfort to me and my family that something so beautiful has come out of such a horrible situation.”

Since it started in 2010, MOREwoods has seen the creation of more than 1,500 hectares of woodland and the planting of more than two million trees across the UK.