Operation Christmas Tree


The North West’s biggest real Christmas tree at Liverpool Cathedral from 2008

The North West’s biggest real Christmas tree at Liverpool Cathedral from 2008

The Forestry Commission in North West England have launched Operation Christmas Tree this week, to ensure that some of the region’s most famous public landmarks and civic venues receive an extra touch of festive sparkle.


Foresters are carrying out the operation to fulfil orders in time for the seasonal celebration, as well as running busy public Christmas tree sales centres around the region, including the Forestry Commission’s Delamere Forest Park in Cheshire and Whinlatter and Grizedale Forests in Cumbria.

For the fifth year running, the Forestry Commission at Grizedale in South Cumbria will be supplying the largest of the trees, a mighty 60-foot Sitka Spruce tree, to Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, which will transported and winched into place on Thursday the 4th of December. 

Tim Gill, for the Forestry Commission in the North West, said:

“We’re very proud to be supplying so many of the trees that will be in public places around the North West.  There’s no substitute for a real Christmas tree.  The Sitka spruce has attractive bushy foliage and gives off a lovely pine scent. 

“The impressive 60-foot specimen will look stunning in Liverpool Cathedral’s main hall.  Grizedale Forest is one of the few places in Britain capable of supplying large civic trees to venues like this.”

The massive tree will provide the perfect compliment to the cathedral’s bells, which have the highest and heaviest peal in the world.

Throughout the religious festival visitors to the Cathedral can admire the beautiful tree, which will be covered with hundreds of Christmas lights and decorations.

Forestry and haulage experts are felling and transporting over 30 civic Christmas trees around the region to brighten up businesses and public venues such as the Manchester City Football Ground, the Jaguar Car Plant at Halewood and Lakeland Ltd at Windermere in Cumbria.

For people who don’t have the space for a 60-foot Christmas tree in their living room, the Forestry Commission will be selling a range of more modestly sized trees at its sales centres at Delamere in Cheshire, and Whinlatter and Grizedale Forests in Cumbria, as well as giving advice on the best tree to buy and how to care for them.

Delamere Forest is one of the two largest Christmas tree outlets in Britain.  People in Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire can now buy their traditional tree at the Forestry Commission’s Real Christmas Tree Centre at Delamere, and enjoy a great day out at the same time.

Trees can be purchased daily from Delamere’s Whitefield Car Park from Monday the 1st until Sunday the 21st of December, between 9am and 5pm.  Late night openings will be available on the 11th and 12th of December until 8pm.  A Santa’s grotto will also be open at Delamere every weekend in December from 9am until 5pm, and weekdays from 3pm until 5pm. 

The Whinlatter Christmas tree centre will be open daily from Monday 1st December until Monday the 22nd of December, or until stocks last.  People will be able to select the tree of their choice from 10am until 4pm on weekdays and from 10am until 5pm at weekends.  

Children can visit Santa in his woodland grotto at Whinlatter on 6th and 7th and 13th and 14th December from 11am until 3pm.  There will also be a range of children’s seasonal craft activities on offer, which are free of charge.

Grizedale Christmas tree sales will start on Saturday the 6th of December, opening daily from 10am until 4pm.  Last sales day is Tuesday the 23rd of December.  The best trees always go first, so people are advised not to leave it too late.

Varieties of tree will include the popular Nordmann Fir, Norway Spruce and Lodgepole Pine, which are all sourced from the UK.  Prices start from only £12 depending on size and species.

All of the trees available come from sustainable sources. Around 50,000 real Christmas trees are sold by the Forestry Commission every year at its 21 sales centres, and for every tree harvested, at least another one is planted.

For more information on where to buy real Christmas trees in your area visit www.forestry.gov.uk/christmas.   There’s also lots of tips about how to pick the perfect tree and look after it, as well as Christmas tree traditions, forest walks, bike rides and festive events.  


How to keep real Christmas trees looking good

·        Store in a cool place before bringing the tree indoors

·        Keep away from direct heat

·        Cut half an inch off the stump and stand in a container full of water

·        Water regularly – a Christmas tree can ‘drink’ up to a pint of water a day


Top tree facts

·        The custom of putting up a decorated fir tree in your home at Christmas began in Germany in the 17th century.

·        Prince Albert made Christmas trees popular in Britain, when he introduced them to England from Germany.

·        Around six million trees are sold in Britain each year.

·        The Forestry Commission provides around 43,000 trees each year

·        Growing times: Pine (five years); Spruce (seven years); Noble Fir (10 years).

·        More than 90% of UK families put up a Christmas tree.

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