BLENHEIM Palace's estate has so many trees it has started giving them away to local villages.

In their latest bid to become more eco-friendly, estate managers gifted a selection of suitable saplings to residents in the nearby village of Combe.

The leafy largesse included young oak, cherry and beech trees grown on the palace's sprawling grounds.

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Now the saplings have all been planted by members of the Combe Parish Tree Stewards scheme – a project to plant and look after more trees.

Blenheim Estate head forester Nick Baimbridge and his team grew the trees from seeds collected in the Blenheim woods – including High Park, which the palace says has the largest collection of ancient oaks in the UK.

In addition to the trees, which range from one to three years old, the estate’s rural team also provided mulch, stakes and guards to protect them.

Now they have all been planted by the members of the Combe Parish Tree Stewards voluntary scheme, which was set up to provide maintenance and complete other jobs which would enhance biodiversity, visual amenity and carbon capture.

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Landscape architect Jonathan Ford, whose day job includes overseeing the planting of more than 400,000 trees and shrubs along the M40, is running the tree stewarding scheme.

He said: “It has been a pleasure working with so many members of the Blenheim Rural Estate team on this project.

“They have been consistently helpful and supportive, I hope we can work together in future.

“These projects aren’t just about work, they are also about getting out into our wonderful countryside, getting exercise and meeting neighbours.”

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The tree stewards’ first project was to sort the maintenance of 14 trees on the Oxfordshire Way, just west of Akeman Street.

The team replaced dead trees, providing protection for deer and rabbits, whilst controlling plant growth around the base of the trees in the area north east of Woodstock.

The Blenheim Estate announced last year that it was aiming to become the first UK estate to demonstrate carbon-positive land management.

'Head of rural' Rachel Furness-Smith said: “Working with our local community is one of the key supporting pillars of our land strategy.

"Both myself and Nick were delighted to be able to provide trees for this fantastic local project and we’re looking forward to being able to do more work with the tree stewards when circumstances allow."