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The hamlet of Bailey Green is one of several that make up the village of Privett in the parish of Froxfield. Over the last 40 years it has lost its two pubs, the village shop, the post office and the school, and the church is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.
So the village hall at Bailey Green is seen as central to this Hampshire community. The hall is being renovated in a community-led project, and planting the Jubilee Diamond Tree on the green has helped to reinforce this area as the village centre. Privett has a relatively low percentage of woodland (10 per cent) compared with Hampshire as a whole (about 20 per cent) so trees along lanes and in public spaces are a very important component of the village landscape.
An English oak was selected to complement the two oaks already growing on Bailey Green. One was planted by local resident Pete Jackson to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. The other was planted 20 years ago by Mrs Bailey in memory of her husband because they enjoyed living there.
The canopies of the existing two trees are starting to combine. In time there will be three tree trunks and one combined canopy. There is only a small difference in age between the three trees as oaks live for several hundreds of years.
The 8th December 2012 started with about 40 local residents and 10 dogs going on a four-mile walk around the village. On this bright and sunny morning they set out from the church along lanes and footpaths before entering private woodlands and arable farmland.
Large areas of the woodlands were felled during World War II and replanted with western red cedar and western hemlock by the Forestry Commission in the late 1950s.
The woodlands subsequently passed into private ownership and some have been converted back to deciduous, with beech and oak the predominant species.
The walkers and others then gathered at Bailey Green for the tree-planting ceremony. They watched and helped the local children plant the Diamond Jubilee oak tree. The National Anthem was sung by all, accompanied by Hazel Wedlake on the accordion.
Andy Birnie, a professional hedge layer, talked about his work. He had completed over half a mile of hedge laying along the lane adjoining Bailey Green and was currently working on the hedge directly adjacent to where the tree was being planted.
Then everyone went off to the village hall for home-made soup.
Children from the six houses that make up the hamlet of Bailey Green helped plant the tree, including digging the hole the previous weekend. They also planted bulbs around the base of the existing oaks.
The following week, children from the Montessori Nursery, which has been based in Privett village hall for the last 20 years, then planted other bulbs around the new tree, assisted by their teachers and parents.
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