Bettys & Taylors First Woodland Festival

10th June 2016

Group end shotOn 28th May we held our first Woodland Festival in our Trees for Life Wood at RHS Garden Harlow Carr. Over 2,200 people attended the family festival to celebrate the fledgling woodland in the South Field.

Throughout the day there were performances from our hero trees, who told stories of our ancient woodland and folklore, and Yorkshire folk act The Paul Mirfin. Children were able to take part in woodland-inspired activities including bow and arrow making, sword carving, leaf printing and wand making.

One visitor said: “The Woodland Festival was amazing! What a magical day in a beautiful setting. Our children were so happy, they loved it… A place to make memories and have adventures. Brilliant.”

At the end of the day children were encouraged to make crowns using foraged leaves, flowers and grasses ready for a ceremonial tree planting, and the Mayor and Mayoress of Knaresborough joined in the celebration.

Leading the procession was Paul Cook, Curator of RHS Garden Harlow Carr, who planted an oak tree to mark one year of Bettys & Taylors Trees for Life Woodland and the end of the festival.

Organiser of the festival, Isabel McKenzie from the Group Communications team said: “Today was a fantastic day to celebrate what we have achieved through our Trees for Life projects. It was great to see so many people attending.

“Planting trees around the world and protecting the rainforest is really important to our business and it was lovely to share our knowledge and inspire the next generation of tree lovers. I hope the Woodland Festival will be the first of many events in our Tress for Life Woodland.”

For more information and the latest news about Trees for Life visit


30th March 2016

Join Us!


Back in October 2014, staff from Bettys & Taylors, along with local school children, donned our wellies to plant 150 saplings at their Trees for Life Wood at RHS Garden Harlow Carr. To celebrate the fledgling woodland and the work we’ve done across the business planting and protecting trees, we’re kicking off the May half term holidays with a one day family Woodland Festival RHS Garden Harlow Carr, on Saturday May 28.

The festival features performers bringing to life the different ‘Hero Trees’ of the forest, through storytelling, and includes face painting, woodland crafts, adventures trails and our very own Cone Exchange will be there. The event starts at 10am and ends with a special tree planting ceremony at 3pm. All activities are free and are based on a first come first serve basis. Normal garden admission applies.

Activity times:

  • Face painting 11am – 3pm
  • RHS nature trails 11am, 1pm, and 2pm
  • Workshops and wood craft 10am – 4pm
  • The Cone Exchange crafts 10am – 4pm
  • Hero Tree performances 12noon, 1pm, and 2pm
  • Tree planting ceremony 3pm

plantingBettys & Taylors Tree Champion, Isabel McKenzie, said: “As a business that relies on agriculture for much of its produce, from tea and coffee to wheat and sugar, it makes sense for us to care for the health of the environment.” says Isabel. “Planting trees around the world and protecting the rainforest has really taught us how reliant, as a business, we are on trees– not just for our planet, but for the communities who directly depend upon them. We’ve had some really exciting projects over the years, and we hope activities like the Gruffalo on our Yorkshire Tea packs and events such as our Woodland Festival, can inspire the next generation of tree lovers.”

Bettys & Taylors has been planting and protecting trees since 1990. In 2007 the business planted their three millionth tree – a young oak tree at RHS Harlow Carr in what would become their Trees for Life Wood.  In 2014 further planting got under way, with the help from local school children and Bettys & Taylors staff. The three acre woodland is now home to 1,000 young trees. Beautifully illustrated information boards lead visitors through the woodland and bring to life the uses of trees in transport, livelihoods, food and fodder, shelter and medicine as well as their fundamental role in helping to prevent and adapt to climate change.

The Woodland Festival launches the start of the RHS’ half term holiday activity and their week-long celebration ‘Scouting for All’ to commemorate one hundred years of cub scouts.

Thursday 28th April – A month to go!

The Woodland Festival is fast approaching so we went to find out what’s happening behind the scenes at Make A Wish Entertainment.

Trees for life.Make a Wish TeamBased in Harrogate, Make A Wish Entertainment was formed in 2006 by Suzanne Vaughan. Many parents and children will know Suzanne as ‘Fairy Enchantica’ and may have met her at various events including the most recent, Springtime Live at The Yorkshire Showground. Suzanne’s background in performing arts means her and her team have an extremely creative approach when working with schools and businesses; just walking into their creative space made the mind boggle.

Trees for List. SuzanneSuzanne said: “I thought Betty & Taylors was all about tea and cake but hearing about the great work they’ve done, I wanted to know more. In this world we can’t live without trees, so it’s vitally important to educate people, plant more trees and protect them from deforestation.” Suzanne goes on to say: “Trees have always been an important part of my life and ever since I was a little girl my favourite book was The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. I suppose it is where my inspiration for this business came from too as in The Magic Faraway Tree anything could happen!”

We tasked Make A Wish to bring to life the Bettys & Taylors Trees for Life project through our ‘Hero Trees’. Inspired by the information boards, already based at our Trees for Life Woodland at The RHS, Make A Wish have started to bring to life the two ‘Hero Tree’ characters – Rowan and Oak.

Trees for Life. interp boardsThese characters will be performing through the day at the Woodland Festival including interactive sing along and storytelling to inspire the next generation of tree lovers. Why not come along dressed as a ‘Tree Hero’. Both the Rowan and the Oak would be very happy to see as may children’s dressed in their best tree inspired fancy dress.

To end with a bang the festival will close with a very special tree planting ceremony led by the ‘Hero Trees’. Suzanne ends with saying; “I really hope locals will come along and support this event as it would be lovely to think this is the first of many Woodland Festivals to celebrate Bettys & Taylors Trees for Life project.”

Finally we asked Suzanne what her festival essential was: “An umbrella, because if it rains you can use it or shelter and if it’s sunny you can use it for shelter.” We think this is great advice.

Thursday 12th May – Meet our Hero Trees

Woodland festival tree herosTrees are our heroes, our national treasures. At Bettys & Taylors, we are so passionate about trees that we even have our own wood at RHS Harlow Carr Garden. Home to over 1,000 native species, the family-fun Woodland Festival on May 28 will be a great way to celebrate and learn about British ‘hero trees’.

We will have entertainers dressed up as two of our ‘hero trees’. Both the Oak Tree and Rowan Tree (pictured above) have been brought to life through storytelling and performances, but here’s a little more about our other ‘hero trees’ in our woodland.

WillowThe Willow Tree

Known for its long and flexible stems which move majestically with the wind, the Willow is a magical tree, where wishes might be granted.

Catkins appear in early spring and after they are pollinated, they develop small capsules which contain tiny seeds encased in white down. Willow catkins provide an important source of nectar and pollen for bees and birds who like to nest in the branches.




The Hornbeam Tree

The wood of the hornbeam is extremely hard and durable. The name derives from Old English where ‘Horn’ meant ‘hard’ and ‘beam’ meant ‘tree’.

The Hornbeam is a haven for caterpillars, moths and finches feasting on the seeds and broad leaves.




The Hazel Tree

Hazel wood is incredibly bendy, and for centuries British craftsmen used hazel wood to make ‘thatching spars’ which would secure thatch onto the roofs of houses. Coppiced hazel also provides shelter for ground-nesting birds.

Historically, in some parts of England hazelnuts were carried as charms and Celts and Druids believed that hazelnuts were a source of wisdom. In Greek mythology hazel branches were woven into headpieces and worn to protect warriors from evil.



Scots Pine

The Scots Pine Tree

The Scots pine is an evergreen tree – native to the UK and found in abundance in the Caledonian Forest of the Scottish Highlands.

Traditionally, Druids used to light large bonfires of Scots pine at the winter solstice to celebrate the passing of the seasons. Glades of Scots pines were also decorated with lights and shiny objects, just as we decorate our Christmas trees today.


Why don’t you come along in your tree-inspired fancy dress to explore the fledging wood and find each of the five Hero Trees?


19th May 2016 – Gearing up for Bettys & Taylors first Woodland Festival

It’s just over a week to go until the South Field at the RHS Harlow Carr Garden will be transformed into a hive of activity. Even if the sun isn’t shining on us, Saturday May, 28 will our first family-fun Woodland Festival and we hope to see you all there!

The Festival aims to excite and educate the tree lovers of the future, whilst celebrating our fledging woodland. There’s so much to do, from leaf printing and clay puppets from Get Out More, to adventures in the wood with Woodland Adventure Company. Joblings, a Yorkshire joiner, will be hard at work using traditional methods to turn our hero trees into modern day implements.woodland craftsThe atmosphere is set to me amazing with live music from The Paul Mirfin Band. So don your wellies and head down to RHS Harlow Carr on Saturday May 28. You could even bring along your picnic rugs, pop into Bettys and pick up a picnic lunch and have at the festival.Paul Mirfin Band