Acorn Collection

Help us grow mighty oaks from tiny acorns!

This autumn we are seeing a bumper crop of acorns being produced within our woodlands, and we need your help to collect and plant these so we can protect woodlands such as Howe Park, Shenley and Linford wood for future generations.

Our ancient woodlands are predominantly made-up from Oak and Ash trees among many others, but in recent years the Ash trees have been blighted by the devastating disease Ash dieback. Once this disease has taken hold of an Ash tree there is little that can be done, the tree becomes weak and eventually dies. Losing Ash trees within our woodland means we are losing the character of these ancient places.

As part of our strategy to maintain the woodland and its historic character and richness of biodiversity, we need to replace the lost and dying Ash trees with species of trees that are native to the woodland, such as Oak. Oak trees are also very similar to Ash trees in the way they are late coming into leaf, so they allow ground flora plants such as Bluebells to get the right amounts of light they need to really flourish, something that is also really important for the ecosystem of the wood.

So, here’s how you can help, take a visit to either Howe Park, Shenley or Linford Wood and gather some acorns. Gather acorns in a good condition, these should be green, have no holes where insects could have burrowed inside, and the caps should come off easily. We recommend collecting 10 fresh green acorns per person/ household, or 50 per school. The acorns must only be collected from the three woodlands above, to make sure the genetic makeup of the woods is preserved.

Once you’re back at home or school here’s what you’ll need and how to plant and look after them.

What you’ll need:

  • Gardening gloves
  • 15cm (6in) pots with drainage holes (initially you can fit 4 acorns per pot)
  • Multi-purpose compost
  • Trowel
  • Acorns
  • Plant label

How to plant:

  1. Loosely fill the a 15cm (6in) pot with compost leaving around a 2.5cm (1in) gap between the compost and the top of the pot. Make four spaced holes at the edge of the pot with your finger and put an acorn in to each hole.
  2. Gently cover over the acorns with the compost. Water the pot and place it outside, somewhere it’ll get watered by the rain. You may also need to protect the acorns from animals and birds.
  3. The seedlings can be kept in this pot until the roots begin to emerge out of the drainage holes, when it can be potted on to a slightly larger pot. Tall pots are better than squat ones, to allow the roots to elongate. You’ll need to repeat this as often as necessary.
  4. Let them grow! These will need to be left to grow for 2 growing seasons (2 years)
  5. In December 2022, The Parks Trust will collect the newly grown Oak seedlings from you and plant these in our woodlands, where they will be cared for until they become mature trees.


After you have collected and planted your acorns, please complete the form below:

Your Details
Your Collection
Consent

I agree for The Parks Trust to manage the data I have provided for the duration of this project.


Discover our parks

  • Howe Park Wood

    Facilities:

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    Howe Park is probably the woodland mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086. Parts of it may be rare surviving fragments of the 'wildwood' that covered the whole of lowland Britain after the last Ice Age, 6-11,000 years ago.

    Refreshments
    There is a Café at Howe Park Wood ran by Grounds. The café is operating a takeaway only service until further notice.

  • Shenley Wood

    Facilities:

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    Shenley Wood is one of three ancient woodlands in Milton Keynes, a wonderful spot for a quiet walk and to enjoy the abundant wildlife.

    Refreshments
    There are no facilities on site but there is a range of pubs and shops in Shenley Church End about 10 minutes’ walk away to the east.

  • Linford Wood

    Facilities:

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    Enclosed in the year 1264 by Baron Von Pippard, the original owner of the Linford Manor estate, Linford Wood is the largest and oldest of the Trust's three ancient woodlands. Despite its location close to the city centre, Linford Wood provides a tranquil haven for wildlife and people. Find out more about how we manage Linford Wood by clicking here.

    Refreshments
    There are no facilities within the wood but hot and cold drinks and other refreshments are available from the BP garage on the west side of the wood.

  • Nature inspired activities which you can do at home or in your local parks.
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