HI Trees is a local community action group that is restoring the green gateway to the villages of Histon and Impington.

Photo showing the embankment with trees cut down

The expansion of the A14 at Histon removed some of the green infrastructure at the entrance to the villages, reducing the screening from the A14 and removing vital green space for the residents of Histon and Impington.

The group was successful in receiving a grant of £4,000 from our 2019-20 PEBBLE fund towards the project.

The project also received funding from a number of other funds including SCDC’s Zero Carbon Communities Scheme, donations from the Histon and Impington Parish Council, The Red Lion Histon beer festival, local businesses Ovengleamers and Cooke Curtis and local school girl Lily Layzell who has crowdfunded over £1,100 to help restore this vital area of green space.

The project is restoring 0.8 hectares of woodland, this will be a mixture of trees, hedge planting and will be interspersed with shrubs and wildflowers creating a biodiverse habitat.

HI Trees will be undertaking the planting of the woodland in two stages.

Stage one
The first stage was in March 2021 with a  small, COVID-compliant tree planting ceremony. The group asked Lily to take part in a small ceremonial planting to recognise her outstanding efforts and she planted the first tree. A further 840 trees were be planted over the days following the ceremony.

Given the community backing of the project, the group were keen to get the community involved in all aspects of restoring the woodland. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, the community events have had to be scaled back, although the community is still very much looking forward to restoring the woodland and creating a space for the residents to enjoy nature.  

Stage two
As a result of COVID restrictions, the group plan on hosting the second phase of the planting in the winter of 2021-22, when hopefully restrictions have lessened and the whole community can be part of this project. 

Photo of tree plantingPhoto of Dan next to Green Gateway sign Graphic showing area of tree planting

Photos show: Daniel Wright from Brookfield Groundcare making a start on the planting, Dan Mace, chair of HI Trees and the plan of the tree planting area.

Stage three
Photo showing Histon and Impington plant trees! (Credit Geoff Smith)

Saturday 27 November 2021 saw a crowd of over 60 volunteers brave the tail end of Storm Arwen to plant trees in the field between the Holiday Inn and the B1049. About 400 trees including oaks, beech, birch, crab apple, hornbeam, and wild cherry, along with smaller shrubs such as hawthorn, dogwood and hazel were planted.

The volunteers learned the art of planting, staking, and mulching to give the trees the best possible start. And the 1st Histon Scout Group were on hand to provide much needed hot drinks. They planted one-year old ‘whips’. Whilst these trees are small, they will be much less disturbed by the planting process and should do well.

Now that all the trees are planted, the group will be able to fence them off, and this will allow the rest of the field to be used for livestock. 

I spoke to one guy who'd never planted a tree before and he was thrilled.

There was an older lady who planted four for her children, four for each of her grandchildren and then went back and said I'd better plant one for my husband too! 

I also spoke to Wendy, a teenager who was able to tell me the species of all 15 she had planted.  

Personally I planted an oak in memory of my Dad and a goat willow for my mum who recently passed away - I'll be nodding to them every time I cycle up to the roundabout.”

Jan Watt, who coordinated the event.

“It was wonderful to finally see the community tree-planting event take place.  

The cutting down of so many trees in the area in the Spring of 2018 shocked many of us, but we can now look forward to seeing this new woodland take shape. 

A huge thank you to all who’ve helped make this happen over the last few years, and all who braved the cold and the rain, planted the trees, and helped create a new woodland that will benefit our village for decades to come.”

Dan Mace 

Photo of the planting day

HI Trees

Find out more about the project

Posted: March 2021
Updated December 2021

Graphic stating Pebble - projects that explore biodiversity benefits in the local environment