A MEMORIAL wood being planted to honour the 11,281 Somerset service personnel killed in the First World War is being dedicated on Friday (Novmber 9) - two days before the centenary of the end of the conflict.

A total of 14,000 broad leaf trees covering 23 acres will make up Somerset Wood between Monkton Heathfield and Nerrols Farm.

Members of the public are invited to attend the ceremony at 3pm - check out the map to see how to get there - and to sign a book of dedication in memory of the fallen. People should arrive by 2.30pm.

Somerset County Gazette:

The wood is a partnership between Taunton Deane Borough, Somerset County, Cheddon Fitzpaine Parish and West Monkton Parish Councils.

The trees are being provided by The Woodland Trust, with as many as possible being planted this winter.

Ross Kennerley, the Woodland Trust’s South West regional manager, said: "We welcome this opportunity to work in partnership to develop the Somerset Wood, providing advice on the planting design and how best to fund the scheme.

"This is a significant way to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the First World War.

"The planting of these trees will provide a lasting memorial and bring additional woodland habitat to the county, bringing wildlife closer to people."

It is hoped that residents, especially local youngsters, will get involved in the planting and further information will be provided on the planting timetable for those who wish to help.

The wood will be within a planned country park that will be an integral part of Taunton’s garden town and it i aimed to be a place for wildlife, people and peace.

As part of the ceremony, youngsters from West Monkton and Cheddon Fitzpaine primary schools will scatter soil from First World War battlefield Ypres, provided by the mayor of the Belgian town, Jan Durnez.

Past and present representatives from the Armed Forces and other dignitaries will be at the event and the ceremonial naming of the wood will be led by the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, Annie Maw.

There will also be a short service of dedication and blessing conducted by the Archdeacon of Taunton, the Ven Simon Hill.