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Poetry and tree planting

Poetry and tree planting

At the beginning of 2024 the Estates Department was kindly gifted 50 ancient oak saplings from Windsor Great Park’s natural woodland nursery, home to the largest collection of ancient veteran oak trees in northern Europe.

The trees, which are typically home to some of the rarest species of insects in the UK, will help us regrow our ancient classified woodlands and will fill the spaces cleared by our continuing removal of invasives shrubs from the estate.

As part of our Living Campus initiative, Julie Sanders, Principal and Vice Chancellor, planted the first sapling on Wednesday 14 February 2024, and Briony Hughes, one of our English Department’s PhD candidates, and co-curator of the Words from the Wild: The Nature of Poetry exhibition, read a poem that she’d written based on her time spent in Windsor Great Park and across the University’s grounds.

Poem for a Sapling Planted on 14th February 2024 by Briony Hughes

a moment under the top-soil
all this time, thrice the canopy or crown
you’ve branched outwards, or tapered down or adapted
into a fine root system

purple hairstreak butterfly or wood warblers or oak-mining bee
bechstein’s bat goat moth wood mouse all
watched the acorn – fruiting
from singular taproot
to lateral pattern

know you’ll never be a colossal wreck
know decay makes for habitat
know shoots will grow from the fallen
know catkins in rows
as processionary trend
can outlast eras
or witness reigns

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