Our story We're planting trees and using woodlands to make life better for people and wildlife in the Marston Vale The Forest of Marston Vale is the 61 square miles between Bedford and Milton Keynes which was a very different place before we came along. Massive pits had been dug throughout the countryside to supply Stewartby Brickworks with clay – many were then filled with waste and became landfill. Tree cover was a pitiful 3% - a third of the national average at the time. There was smog from the chimneys; there were smells from the landfill. If you were driving through on the old A421, you’d do your car windows up. Your Community Forest To help the area recover from the effects of these industries, the Government made the area a Community Forest - one of 12 in the UK – in the early 90s. The idea was that planting trees and using woodlands would make life better for people, and wildlife. Now that the area is greener our challenge is keeping the balance between the environment and new developments like housing and warehouses. We’re working towards 30% tree cover, which is another 5 million trees. Every time a new development goes ahead we work hard to make sure that, overall, the environment benefits – aka there’s a net environmental gain. The Forest area: Check out our Forest Plan (2000) Help us plant more trees Sign up to our newsletter You can choose to just hear about our events, or our campaigns and the work that we do locally. The more people that get involved, the quicker we'll be able to plant 5 million more trees and that can only be a good thing. Not just for the local area but for the planet. Money doesn't grow on trees - donate now Land is expensive and managing woodlands is expensive. It isn't as simple as putting a tree in the ground and walking away - it costs £20 to plant one tree and look after it for 5 years. So trees don't cost the earth, but they might just save it.