Update on Mead Young Peoples Forest Project
Activity is moving forward this spring to develop our activity at our exciting new project based at Mead, in Derbyshire. Our Young Peoples Forest project has recruited its first staff, with a Youth development manager set to start in post this month and a new Site manager for the site to start in early March.
In an estimated £5 million project we are looking to turn the 162 hectare site, which was open cast mine, into an important natural habitat by planting 260,000 trees and creating one of the area’s largest new native woodlands.
We hope to be able to start offering new volunteer opportunities to get involved late spring / early summer, with the first tree planting activity planned for November this year.
As part of its plans, the project is particularly looking to reach out to young people in the area by providing a wealth of volunteering opportunities and tree planting. We already have close connections with some of the local schools but are keen to hear from other schools in the area and local community groups who are interested in being involved as the work moves forward.
The Trust is initially buying a quarter of the land – thanks to a cash boost from The Veolia Environmental Trust, through the Landfill Communities Fund and Pears Foundation – but it will need to raise further funds to buy the remaining land. The charity will be launching a fundraising campaign in the New Year to help raise the cash.
Ecological surveys show that the site already harbours more than 40 bird species, including red listed linnets, lapwing and skylark. There is also evidence of the likes of badger and water voles nearby. Planting trees brings the potential to significantly increase the number and range of species.
As well as planting approximately 260,000 trees and creating hundreds of metres of hedgerows, there will be some areas left open for natural regeneration – something that local people will be able to watch over the years to see how nature recovers when it is simply given space to breathe.