Back in December 2020, a collection of trees were felled around the Downs Light Railway. Two Ash trees were removed to make way for our proposed new buildings. They were also suffering with Ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus), which is a fungus that originated in Asia and is highly destructive. The Red Cedar trees around the level crossing were also cleared to improve the visibility of the railway to vehicles turning into the School.
The Colwall Orchard Trust, the Downs Light Railway Trust, and The Downs Malvern have an informal partnership to help boost and maintain the orchard surrounding the Downs Light Railway. The planting of new fruit trees starts the journey to restore the orchard, while improving the natural ecosystem. Under the planning consent for our proposed new buildings, we had a legal obligation to compensate the trees felled. This planting effort exceeds this obligation.
The Colwall Orchard Group (the Colwall Orchard Trust) very kindly provided the collection of fruit trees and associated equipment. On Saturday 5th February 2022, the children drove stakes into the ground, dug the holes, planted the trees, and wrapped them in protective cages. The whole exercise recycled chippings from the felled Red Cedars. Lastly, we also registered the trees on The Queen's Green Canopy, to celebrate The Queen's platinum jubilee.
Thank you for your contribution to this special initiative, which we hope will inspire countless others. With your support we are creating a greener UK and a legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the nation, which will benefit future generations.
- The tree planting forms part of the preparation project phase of the Downs Light Railway Trust's Centenary Development Programme. This activity compensates the trees felled in 2020 and satisfies our planning conditions.
- The Downs Light Railway Trust's Centenary Development Programme aims to increase youth engagement in heritage railways, provide greater practical learning opportunities and strengthened community involvement. The programme hopes to realise these aims from 2025 when the Downs Light Railway is 100 years old.
- The Downs Light Railway Trust was recognised by the Heritage Railway Association in their 2021 Annual Awards for its contribution to youth engagement.
- The Downs Light Railway Trust was setup a charitable trust in 1983, registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Registration number is 513882.
- In August 2021, the Downs Light Railway Trust was registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration Number 1195660.
- The Downs Light Railway was started by The Downs School (Colwall), now The Downs Malvern, in the early 1920s and was formally established in 1925. At over 97 years old, it stands to be the oldest private miniature railway worldwide.
- The Downs Light Railway educates on average 15 children on each session. These children are aged between 7 and 18 years old. Dedicated sessions are provided to local educational establishments. General youth activities are open to all children.