Somerset Wood welcomes all this Friday

With Remembrance Day momentum building across the country, members of the public will be warmly welcomed at this week’s official dedication of the Somerset Wood.

The ceremony will start at 3pm on Friday, 9 November at the site between Monkton Heathfield and the east of Nerrols Farm, near Taunton, and anyone with an interest is invited to come along.

Those attending will be able to sign a book of dedication in memory of the 11,281 Somerset Servicemen and women who died in WW1. The event will have special significance, coming two days before a Remembrance Day that will mark the 100th anniversary of the Great War.

The memorial wood is a joint partnership between Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset County Council, Cheddon Fitzpaine Parish Council and West Monkton Parish Council.

Anyone planning to attend is asked to arrive early – no later than 2.30pm – and walk, cycle or use local buses if possible. Some car parking will be available near to the dedication site but anyone arriving by car is asked to car share if possible. For the full map click Somerset Wood Map

Trees for the project are being provided by The Woodland Trust and as many as possible will be planted this winter.

Ross Kennerley, the Woodland Trust’s South West Regional Manager said: “We welcome this opportunity to work in partnership to develop the Somerset Wood, providing advice on the planting design and how best to fund the scheme.

“This is a significant way to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the First World War. “The planting of these trees will provide a lasting memorial and bring additional woodland habitat to the county, bringing wildlife closer to people.”

It’s hoped that residents, especially local youngsters, will get involved in the planting of the trees and further information will be provided on the planting timetable for those who wish to help.

The aim is that eventually 14,000 broad-leaved trees will be planted covering 23 acres within a planned Country Park that will be an integral part of Taunton’s Garden Town, the wood will be a and a place for wildlife, people and peace.

As part of the ceremony, youngsters from West Monkton and Cheddon Fitzpaine primary schools will scatter soil from Ypres. It’s been provided by the town’s Mayor, Jan Durnez, to help Somerset remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War 1.

Representatives from the Armed Forces, past and present, and other dignitaries will be at the event and the ceremonial naming of the wood will be led by HM’s Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, Mrs Anne Maw. There will also be a short Service of Dedication and Blessing conducted by the Archdeacon of Taunton, the Venerable Simon Hill, on behalf of The Bishop of Bath and Wells.