Corporate volunteering day with Nestle Uk, 1st March 2023

The weather was cold and drizzly for our inaugural corporate volunteering day on 1st March 2023. However, Alex Gonnella and his leadership team from Nestle UK & Ireland Marketing turned up bright and early and full of enthusiasm.

Jamie Kirkman, the Charity forester, led the team down the ‘Yellow Brick Road’ explaining the havoc wrought by the eight-toothed spruce bark beetle and our strategy to plant disease-resilient trees to replace the lost trees.

Following in the footsteps of William Robinson and his style of forestry, the team set about planting a circle of swamp cypress in the newly prepared earth. The first trees went in nicely and were staked and protected from deer and rabbits. We headed down the hill towards the stream and planted 60 trees between hazel coppice and oaks. A mixture of native trees, including – lime, wild cherry, whitebeam, hornbeam and wild service.

The team of eight people worked happily in pairs and created a woody dell that will offer Sussex wildlife nectar, berries, and shelter in the future. The saplings left over will be planted by Sackville School Special Educational Needs Dept next week on the other side of the bridleway.

After a quick sandwich lunch overlooking Lower Lake, the team was up for another challenge. In the remaining few hours, they pegged Sussex-grown oak sleepers under the guidance of Ross Symonds in a section of the steep footpath to make the route more accessible to walkers in winter. The project required digging and hammering and a great deal of teamwork. The result of their hard work was very impressive.

After all this hard work, the Nestle team left weary, knowing they had made a difference to a special corner of Sussex.