EDDC drops of chippings, made from Cranbrook residents' old 2022 Christmas trees, to help St Martin’s Primary School. Credit: EDDC 
EDDC drops of chippings, made from Cranbrook residents' old 2022 Christmas trees, to help St Martin’s Primary School. Credit: EDDC 

Christmas trees collected from across East Devon have been turned into chippings and used for special projects, like at a forest school at Cranbrook. 

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has continued its work with residents this month by recycling all the old Christmas trees left at various residents’ drop-off zones after the festive season.

The authority’s recycling and waste team worked with StreetScene collecting a total of 1,699 trees, before turning them into revitaliser for the East Devon countryside.

This year EDDC collected the following number of trees:

  • Seaton: 245 trees
  • Axminster: 70 trees
  • Honiton: 140 trees
  • Ottery: 205 trees
  • Sidmouth: 235 trees
  • Budleigh: 188 trees
  • Exmouth: 311 trees
  • Cranbrook: 200 trees
  • Broadclyst: 105 trees

At Cranbrook, the trees were chipped down and driven to St Martin’s Primary School where children gathered to watch the work of StreetScene’s Steve Sedgewick and see a giant pile of chippings tipped from his truck.

These chippings will now be used by the school and students in their forest school for a variety of purposes, including maintaining pathways, to protect tree roots and to retain moisture in the soil and suppress weed growth.

Thanks to the partnership between EDDC’s StreetScene team and the school, over the past two years, the nutrients from the chippings have helped to slow the spread of Ash Dieback within the school's estate – a devastating tree disease with the potential to kill up to 95 per cent of Ash Trees.

The students’ mud kitchen also received a helping of chippings to improve the ground around the playground – this will help the children to avoid getting as muddy at break times.  

EDDC also received a heartfelt letter of thanks from the Rotary Club of Exmouth.

For the past 40 years, the Rotary Club of Exmouth has traditionally donated the Magnolia Centre Christmas Tree, for the enjoyment of the town and its residents.

After hearing of logistical issues the club was having to take down the tree, StreetScene officers stepped in to help – quickly organising the collection of the tree and for a mechanical sweeper to clean the area. 

The letter of thanks said:

“I just wanted to highlight to you an excellent example of goodwill and community spirit as demonstrated recently by our colleagues in StreetScene…

“On behalf of myself and officially via the Rotary Club of Exmouth we wish to publicly acknowledge the kindness and support of your staff and colleagues in completing the job so efficiently and with such good grace at short notice.

“On an aside issue, the street collection on the week leading up to Christmas raised more than £1,000, the bulk of which is to be donated to Open Door Exmouth, which I am sure you will agree is a very worthy cause, especially so in difficult times for so many people.”

Tom Wood, EDDC’s StreetScene operations manager, said:

“Our tree team, supported by operational teams have worked really hard to process an enormous number of Christmas trees in a short space of time.

“It’s really pleasing to see these trees being recycled and put back into the ground across the district to benefit local eco-systems and the environment.”