A unique method is being used to plant 25,000 trees in the Lake District.
Chimney Sheep’s community interest company, Buy Land Plant Trees, is using the Miyawaki Method to plant 25,000 trees in a 13-acre field near Bassenthwaite with the support of Cumbria Woodlands and United Utilities. This planting method helps to create forest area quickly, accelerating the natural growth process.
This is the first time the Miyawaki Method has been used at this scale in Cumbria and was chosen as the method of planting due to its ability to recreate the growth of natural forests at an accelerated speed.
This is done by planting mixed species trees in dense clusters, replicating the regeneration process that occurs in natural forests. By using a mix of species with varied canopy levels and close planting, the trees support each other by providing shelter and protection from predators.
Chimney Sheep have been working closely with Cumbria Woodlands during the project, who helped put together a proposal for a grant from the United Utilities Tree Fund.
This has bought 20,000 trees for the project. The other 5,000 trees have come from Chimney Sheep, who donate 20 per cent of their profits to Buy Land Plant Trees.
Sally Phillips, director of Chimney Sheep said: “We are pleased to be bringing the Miyawaki Method to Cumbria. Planting trees using this method will help us to see the benefits of planting more trees in a much quicker time frame than usual.
“We have picked a large variety of trees which will be beneficial to the surrounding environment by retaining water from surrounding land, reducing flooding, absorbing CO₂ and enhancing habitat for wildlife.
“These trees will also contribute towards reducing the algal bloom issues at Bassenthwaite Lake by slowing the flow of water into the lake, holding back nutrients and sediment. Although what we are doing is on a small scale in the grand scheme of things, these trees really are a win, win for everyone.”
Sally also thanked local farmers and Cumbria Woodlands for their support with the project.
“The planting project will improve drainage in surrounding fields, taking up excess water from neighbouring land that is prone to being wet, along with many environmental benefits. I would like to thank the local community in Bassenthwaite who have been extremely helpful,” she added.
Neville Elstone, director of Cumbria Woodlands added: “It has been a real pleasure work with Sally on this scheme. It is great to see a new technique being embraced at scale and I look forward to watching the woodland develop in the coming years.”