Three people carrying a celebration tree at the RSPBs  Haweswater nature reserve

Celebration wood frequently asked questions

If you still have some questions about the Celebration Wood at Haweswater we hope you can find an answer here, but if not our contact details can be found on this page.

Your questions

What is Celebration Wood?

Nestled in the heart of RSPB Haweswater, Celebration Wood is a special place to spend a while with your memories. Each tree has been planted to celebrate the life of a loved one or a special occasion and will in time grow together to become a wonderful home for nature.

What do I get for my donation?

For your donation we will plant a locally grown tree in RSPB Haweswater’s Celebration Wood, situated in the beautiful eastern Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can choose from 11 native tree species, which will be 1.5 to 2 metres high (depending on species).

A pair of locally crafted ceramic markers, inscribed with a personalised dedication will be included; one to hang on your tree, and one to take home with you.

You may visit your tree in the peace of RSPB Haweswater’s Celebration Wood, by yourself or with others, however often you like.

What kind of tree can I choose from?

  • Sessile Oak - as an ancient native species, oak supports more wildlife than any other tree in the British Isles. It provides habitat for several hundred species of insect, birds and many mosses, liverworts, lichens and more.
  • Alder - a water lover, this tree also thrives by riversides, where otters can sometimes be found among its roots. Unusually, this broadleaved tree has small cones containing seeds which are eaten by redpoll, goldfinch and siskins.
  • Willow - a fast growing tree, the bark of willow was once used for pain relief and led to the development of aspirin, whilst artists still prize willow for weaving and living sculpture as well as its charcoal for drawing.
  • Holly - the evergreen, prickly foliage of holly, provides excellent cover and nesting sites for birds, whilst the nectar rich flowers of the female tree are excellent for pollinators.
  • Rowan - an iconic tree of the fells, also known as Mountain Ash, with bright berries to feed the birds and a wealth of folklore as a protector from harm (and even witchcraft!)
  • Downy Birch - a pioneering tree which nurtures its slower growing neighbours to help create woodland, it can grow on poorer soils and supports a diverse range of wildlife.
  • Aspen - recognised by its distinctive, shimmering ‘silver spoon’ leaves foliage, Aspen is a tree found in ancient woodland, highly prized on nature reserves and beloved by beavers.
  • Hawthorn - teeming with wildlife from bugs to birds, it can support 300 species of insects and provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators. The haws are rich in antioxidants and are eaten by migrating birds, such as redwings, fieldfares and thrushes, as well as small mammals.
  • Crab Apple - in spring, the sweetly scented blossom is pollinated by bees and other insects. The blossom develops into small, yellow-green apple-like fruits. Birds and mammals eat the apples and disperse the seeds.
  • Bird Cherry - Spring flowers provide an early source of nectar and pollen for bees, later the cherries are eaten by birds, including the blackbird and song thrush, as well as mammals such as badger and wood mouse.
  • Juniper - this native conifer provides great nesting habitat and shelter for birds, as well as the berries used as food by wildlife and by people to flavour gin. Its wood was once prized by illicit gin makers, as its smokeless quality helped them to stay undetected.

We will guide you in selecting the right tree species for the location

How do I select my ceramic tree markers?

We will arrange for a pair of handcrafted ceramic markers to be made for you by a Lake District based ceramicist. You can choose these to be shaped as either oak leaves or birds, and you can request a short message (up to seven words) to be inscribed on them by the ceramicist before being glazed. One marker may be hung on the tree, and the other is yours to take home with you.

You are welcome to choose not to have tree markers; we will still know which tree is yours on our planting records.

Can I choose the date when the tree is planted?

You can discuss your specific requirements with one of our team. We will certainly do our best to accommodate your wishes.

Do you plant trees all year round?

Our recommended, and therefore primary, period of planting trees is between October and April. Successful planting in months outside of this period will be dependent on suitable ground conditions. We are unlikely to plant in July and August, as the ground can be too dry and the tree may struggle to establish itself.

Can I choose where the tree is planted within the wood?

Please discuss this with our Celebration Wood Officer, Bea Normington.  Most locations within the woodland are suitable for each tree species, however we will guide you to ensure that the most appropriate area for your tree is chosen.

What if I can't attend the tree planting?

We will work with you to find a date to plant your tree that suits you. However if you are unable to join us for the planting, we will send photographs of your tree and details of its exact planting location either by email or post (whichever you prefer). You will have the option for both ceramic markers to be posted to you, or to have one marker hung on tree, with the remaining posted to you to keep.

How do I make my donation?

You can make your donation online by filling out our donation form, paying securely with a debit/credit card.

Please note, we are not able to accept American Express.

Alternatively, you can telephone our Celebration Wood Officer, Bea Normington, contact 07719 078962, or email bea.normington@rspb.org.uk

How will you spend my donation?

Your donation covers the cost of the RSPB purchasing and caring for the tree and the creation and maintenance of Celebration Wood. 

Your donation will also contribute to the work of RSPB Haweswater in enhancing opportunities for nature to thrive in this corner of the Lake District National Park.

Can I scatter ashes in the Wood?

Ashes can be interred in the ground by the roots of your tree, however we are unable to permit the scattering of ashes.

If you would like to discuss this, or would like to request to inter ashes, please discuss this with Celebration Wood Officer Bea Normington, in advance of the planting. You will need to bring the certificate of cremation with you (given to you when ashes are collected from the funeral directors).

Can I plant flowers by the tree?

Due to the sensitivity of habitats and species at RSPB Haweswater, you will be unable to plant any flowers during or after the tree planting.

Can I leave a bouquet of flowers or other tributes by the tree?

Celebration Wood is a natural setting and is designed to support the wildlife of RSPB Haweswater. We therefore cannot permit any tributes, including flowers, to be left by the trees and any found will be removed. A pair of personalised ceramic markers will however be available as part of your donation, one to hang on your tree, and one to keep.

Will I get a plaque by the tree? 

RSPB Haweswater’s Celebration Wood will not contain traditional plaques. You will instead be invited to select locally crafted ceramic tree markers to hang upon your tree.

What if the tree I have planted dies?

Each tree comes with a 10-year guarantee. In the unlikely event that the tree should die we would be happy to replace it free of charge.

Will the grass in the wood be cut and, if so, how often?

Narrow paths will be gently cut through the wood on a regular basis but we will leave most of the grass long in order to encourage wildflowers, insects and small mammals.

What happens when the wood is full?

If Celebration Wood reaches our recommended capacity for planted trees, we will explore options to develop further woods elsewhere at RSPB Haweswater which will also create important habitat corridors.

How tall will the tree be when it is planted?

The tree will be approximately 1.5 to 2 metres high (depending on species) when it is planted.

I am not a member of the RSPB, does this matter?

No, you do not need to be a member to plant a tree at Celebration Wood.

I would like to become a member, what do I need to do?

Please call our Supporter Service Team on 01767 693680 or email them: membership@rspb.org.uk. Alternatively, you can sign up through our website.

Contact us

Coast on a stormy day

Bea Normington

RSPB Haweswater Celebration Wood Officer

bea.normington@rspb.org.uk
07719 078962