Horton Hospital is an acute general hospital in Banbury providing services such as Accident and Emergancy and Maternity. The hospital joined the NHS Forest in 2012 when a tree planting day took place involving children from Longfield Primary School and Bardwell School, a special needs school in Bicester.

The children from the two schools braved cold spring-time weather to plant 18 lime trees at the Horton Hospital. Every child who took part was rewarded for their efforts by having a tree named after them. The estates team at the hospital joined in to help out with the tree planting, too.

The children also took part in an on-site quiz and learnt lots of interesting tree facts. Thanks also go to Nicholsons (the firm who manage the woodland at the Horton General Hospital) who provided the trees and gave the children an introductory talk to tree planting.

School children plant trees at Horton Hospital
School children plant trees at Horton Hospital. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).
Newly planted trees at Horton General Hospital
Newly planted trees at Horton General Hospital. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

A teacher at Bardwell School has summed up what the project meant for them: “We had a wonderful morning. The students from Bardwell and Longfields Schools worked really well together, supporting each other and forming friendships. They worked hard, learning how to dig holes, plant the trees and pat down the ground. Each student loved the fact they had a tree named after them.

Before the visit we talked about the importance of positive outside spaces on the wellbeing of patients and their visitors in hospitals. The students understood that they were helping to improve the outside site at the Horton Hospital as well as helping the environment. This has had a significant impact on our children, improving their self esteem through contributing to the improvement of the hospital grounds.”

The children have also enjoyed sharing their experiences with their respective schools in assemblies. Lauren, from Bardwell School, summed things up: “The trees need lots of rain, lots of sun and lots of love so they can grow easily and really quick.”

The NHS Forest worked with a graphic designer and hospital staff to create a sign to promote the woodland area. This includes logos from the schools, hospital and Nicolsons to celebrate the hard work involved in creating and improving the greenspace on site. The sign also encourages people at the hospital to use the woodland site for relaxation and gentle exercise – and so to improve their health.

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