Students from Sedbergh School have begun planting 2,000 trees at Low Branthwaites as part of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s Together for Trees campaign, which aims to plant 100,000 trees over the next two years.
They joined landowners Anna and Darren Sheffield and staff from the Trust in planting more than 200 trees on the first day of the project last week.
The new native woodland, including hazel, rowan, birch, holly, bird cherry and crab apple, will be planted over the next ten weeks to provide variety in the landscape and a new habitat for wildlife.
One of the Year 9 students who helped plant the first trees was Ben. He said: “We had a great experience planting trees and helping to improve the environment. It was good to work as a team knowing we were helping the community too.
“It’s nice to know Anna and Darren will be happy with what we’ve done and we had a great time out here working for them.”
Planting at Low Branthwaites is to take place over two years.
Students are undertaking the voluntary work as part of their John Muir Award, a national environmental scheme encouraging people to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places.
Carol Douglas, Woodland Officer at YDMT, said: “Through our ‘Together for Trees’ campaign we are working with many partners including Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Forestry Commission, Woodland Trust and many volunteers with the aim of planting 100,000 additional trees across the region.
“Trees are hugely valuable as a habitat for wildlife – a single oak tree can support up to 284 species of insects – and support some of our most endangered woodland animals, like red squirrels, dormice and cuckoos.
“They are also important for our mental health and wellbeing and we believe that everyone should have access to trees. We work with disadvantaged groups such as young carers, homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom live with disabilities, mental illness and social isolation.
“The Together for Trees appeal aims to raise funds to create beautiful woodlands that everyone can enjoy for years to come.”
She continued: “We’re grateful to students from the school for their time and energy to get this new woodland underway and also to Anna and Darren, the landowners.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with them and look forward to seeing the woodland progress over the coming weeks.”
Anna and Darren offer bed and breakfast accommodation at their 18th century farmhouse at Low Branthwaites and say the woodland will be an important part of their offering.
“We love the idea of our guests being able to witness the development of the woodland and learn about the local landscape and wildlife,” Anna added. “If you are interested in visiting the woodland or for more information about Low Branthwaites please visit www.lowbranthwaites.co.uk.”
If you want to support the Together for Trees campaign you can find out more at www.together-for-trees.org
A donation of £40 could help children from disadvantaged backgrounds visit the Dales to take part in a woodland activity; to improve their wellbeing and ensure these habitats are understood.