Epsom is set to become home to one of four woodlands to be created in the United Kingdom in a £12m project to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The Woodland Trust announced today that four "flagship woods", spanning 1,000 acres, will be planted, one each in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to mark the anniversary of the start of the war.

The English Centenary Wood will be created at Langley Vale, on the border between Epsom Downs and Mole Valley. 

Click here for a larger map (opens in a new window)

The 640-acre site will be bigger than the Olympic Park and will have 200,000 trees planted on it.

Your Local Guardian:

Members of the public will be able to dedicate trees to ancestors at the site. 

Karl Mitchell, Woodland Trust project director, said: "The trees planted during the course of this £12 million project will stand for hundreds of years, providing a lasting tribute to all those involved in the First World War.

"We hope to see many thousands of people getting involved by planting their own tribute or dedicating trees in memory of loved ones.

"At a time when our woodland cover is so low compared to other countries, planting trees now is more important than ever.

"As well as representing enormous strength and bravery shown by the nation during the First World War, the trees that are planted during the course of the project will help strengthen our natural landscape, increasing its resilience to the threats posed by pests and diseases."

Your Local Guardian:

Chris Grayling MP said: "This is very good news for the area and for the future of the Downs.

"It will create a really attractive new feature for the local community and will be a fitting way to mark the centenary of 1914."

In addition to the four flagship woods, more than three million free trees will be available to schools, community groups and youth groups for planting. 

The Woodland Trust said it hopes landowners and communities across the country will get involved to create hundreds of new woods. 

The UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe with only 13 per cent woodland cover compared to 44 per cent across the rest of Europe.

The Woodland Trust added: "Trees and woods contribute to an improved landscape, enabling economic growth while creating a vibrant network of different habitats, leading to healthy, functioning ecosystems and places for people."

Your Local Guardian: