New wood celebrates the jubilee with nod to Norse roots

IT IS not surprising that when old maps were studied of an estate in the Selby district one or two names with Vikings connections were discovered.

Close studies of the maps, some of which date back to 1600, revealed a number of plots with names that were a variation on the word ‘hag’, including Rickall Hagge, Child Haggs and Helm Hag.

So it was natural that those behind a major new community woodland, where planting recently got underway, followed the example and took inspiration from the region’s Scandinavian links when they named it Three Hagges Jubilee Wood.

A spokesman for the project said: “As is common with many northern dialect words, in all these forms the word indicates the old Scandinavian presence in the locality, which is no surprise considering the much celebrated Viking presence in this part of Yorkshire.”

A tree-planting day recently launched the Three Hagges Jubilee Wood at Escrick Park Estate, near Selby, and saw nearly 60 supporters plant in the region of 300 young trees.

The first to be planted was a seedling from an ancient oak, and started the transformation of nine hectares of formerly arable land into a woodland, for the benefit of the public.

Rosalind Forbes Adam, wife of estate owner Charles, and her son Beilby, 25, who have designed and masterminded the wood, said they were delighted with the response from the local community.

She said: “We are very encouraged by the success of our first planting day.

“Our goal is to create a beautiful woodland for the community to enjoy which will feature grassy glades and meandering pathways.

“We have selected a wide range of native wild flowers and grasses to help attract a diverse collection of wildlife.

“By the end of next year we plan to have planted over 10,000 trees.”

The project aims to create a natural woodland, comprising several layers of vegetation, from the ground flora to the canopy.

It will be almost ten hectares and is believed to be the largest newly-created native woodland planted this year in the district.

A number of experts will be called upon to help with the project from those with agricultural skills to those with arboricultural skills

The spokesman added: “Our aspiration is to replicate natural native woodland.

“The wood will comprise a canopy of oak, lime and beech, an edge mix of cherry, crab apples, thorns, rowan and hazel, and a shrub layer of flowering and fruiting natives.

“The long-term control of pernicious weeds will help to create conditions for the introduction of a herb layer that resembles that of ancient woodland – wood anemones, wild daffodils, bluebells, moschatel, primroses, violets – thus further enhancing biodiversity.”

The Three Hagges Jubilee Wood is being planted in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and is being set up as a not-for-profit enterprise, with assistance from the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust.

Research by those behind the project found that the word Hagg had several meanings in Old Norse, including a portion of a wood marked off ready to be cut.

The Escrick Park Estate is owned by Charles Forbes Adam and has been in the family for nearly 350 years.

The wood, which is open to the public and is being planted by members of the community, borders the A19 between Riccall and Escrick.

Those behind the project say it has the potential to be used in conjunction with local schools and community groups for a variety of events.

Among those attending the tree-planting day were Coun Ian Reynolds, a member of Escrick Parish Council and Selby District Council and Brian Keen, chairman of Riccall Parish Council, and Vicky Cumberland, clerk to Escrick Parish Council.

Kevin Thubron, from Persimmon Homes Yorkshire, which is sponsoring the project said last night: “I was honoured to be part of this exciting new project.”

The estate team are charting the woodland’s progress and ways in which the community can support it on a new website which can be found at