Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Saturday, 13 March 2010

Grizedale's branches spruce up Grand National

Spruce fence at the Grand National
The spruce is being transported in 14 separate trips

More than 60 tonnes of branches from Cumbria are on their way to Aintree for the 163rd Grand National.

The spruce branches from Grizedale Forest are being used to dress the Liverpool course's jump fences.

Each fence is made from a wooden frame and covered with the distinctive green spruce.

The branches are being transported to the racecourse in 14 separate journeys ahead of this year's race, which takes place on 10 April.

Andy Bennett from the Forestry Commission said: "It's been a long-held tradition for Aintree racecourse to source branches from surplus trees in Grizedale Forest to construct the jumps in the Grand National and we're only too happy to help out.

"Many of the branches used at Aintree are from trees which have been felled by people having chainsaw assessments and training.

'Challenging task'

"Instead of going to waste, it's a great opportunity for the branches to be recycled and play a big part in one of the world's biggest horse races."

The branches are collected by Mark Shaw from Landcare, the Aintree-based company contracted to provide the materials for the fences.

Mr Shaw said: "It's a challenging task to make sure the fences are in place in time for the big day.

"A huge amount of work is put into making the Grand National course.

"I don't think many people watching the race realise how much effort goes into ensuring the fences are perfect."

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