The cream of this year’s crop of real Christmas trees is up for grabs in one of Europe’s biggest woodlands.
The Forestry Commission will run its popular sales point at 18th century Kielder Castle on 8 and 9 December, with revellers invited to choose from a wide selection of super fresh Nordmann fir and Norway spruce. Trees are all grown in eco-friendly plantations and for everyone felled more are planted.
And a Yuletide trip into the forest this year comes with plenty of trimmings!
Rangers have teamed up with the Duke’s Pantry Tea Room to run a sparkling Christmas Fayre (11am – 4pm) on Saturday 8 December. There will be crafts and gift stalls, German Christmas decorations for sale, wreaths, home-made cakes, mulled wine and mince pies, topped with traditional Christmas carols in the castle courtyard at 3pm.
Ranger Malte Iden said: “A trip to Kielder is the perfect festive outing, especially for youngsters, and there will be plenty to do at the Christmas Fayre. Our trees are cut as late as possible to ensure maximum freshness. There’s nothing to beat the fragrance of a real tree in the living room.”
Giant Christmas trees from Kielder have been shipped to city centre locations around the UK – pride of place goes to a ’45 footer’ destined to stand proud at the foot of Big Ben in London. The 155,000 acre Northumberland woodland is one of the few places in Britain able to meet demand for so many super-sized trees. This year a chopper was used to airlift some specimens from particularly remote Border locations.
The Duke’s Pantry tea room will also be serving seasonal food and refreshments daily in December, 11am to 4pm.
Other real Xmas tree sales centres run at Hamsterley Forest, County Durham, from 1 to 16 December, 10am to 4pm, and at the Forestry Commission office in Rothbury on Walby Hill from 7 to 9 December and 14 to 16 December, 9am-4pm.
Which is the right tree for you, and keep it lasting through to the New Year:
Norway Spruce, made famous by Prince Albert in the 19th century, has a mid-green colour, fine delicate foliage and grand conical stature. It also has a distinctive ‘Christmassy’ aroma.
Nordmann fir has distinctive broad, bold green needles and contrasting whitish undersides.
Cut off at least one inch from the bottom of the trunk and gently shake the tree to remove any loose needles.
Pot the tree with the trunk immersed in water – don’t use sand or soil in the tree stand as they restrict water from being drawn up into the trunk.
Top up the tree stand with water every day.