Mar 20 2020

Gorpley Reservoir Woodland Creation Project – The story so far…

For a number of years The Woodland Trust has been working in partnership with Yorkshire Water and the National Trust to develop proposals for woodland creation on land owned by the partners across West Yorkshire under the auspices of The White Rose Forest’s Landscapes for Water Programme. Since we have been working in the area the instigation of the virtual landscape of the Northern Forest has begun to super charge our efforts and the Woodland Trust has employed and directed significant resource into the area though our Treescape programme

One such scheme that the partnership has been developing is the new woodland created across the estate above the Gorpley Reservoir near Todmorden. Here, the Woodland Trust has taken on a lease from Yorkshire Water of 104 hectares of land at Gorpley Reservoir from Yorkshire Water with a management agreement with the National Trust to engage in the long-term upkeep of the site.

The objective on this site is to delivery 67.3 ha of woodland creation on land owned by Yorkshire Water through the Woodland Trust taking on a 20 year lease. This will be done as part of a much wider habitat improvement scheme on 104 ha of land adjacent to Gorpley Reservoir, which will also include moorland restoration and other natural flood management measures, which could be vital in mitigating flooding in the surrounding areas which have been badly affected.

 Specific objectives:

Ø  63.7 ha of woodland creation (102,245 trees) on Yorkshire Water land at Gorpley Reservoir

Ø  98 Turf Dams

Ø  106 Stone Dams

Ø  63 Willow Dams

Ø  322 Hazel / Brushwood Fascines

Ø  42,500 Sphagnum plugs planted  for Peat bog margin repair

Ø  1000 Square metres Molinia diversification

Ø  1200 square metres Pond formation

Ø  27,400 square metres Heathland restoration

After a number of years in the planning the Woodland Trust made a full Countryside Stewardship Scheme application to DEFRA totalling £470,524.72. This contribution has since been supported not only by allocations from the Woodland Trust though the Northern Regional Budget but also direct financial contribution from both Yorkshire Water and the  National Trust into the Capital Programme. All the NFM interventions were paid though grant from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority – Local Growth Fund, totalling circa £440,000 direct capital investment to the site. The scheme has only really come together with Yorkshire Water repurposing their land asset, the momentum of the Northern Forest, the partnership with the White Rose Community Forest and the National Trust.

The Northern Outreach Team has been the key driver behind the instigation and delivery of the scheme which has only been made possible with the input of a significant amount of departments across the whole Trust. A number of very important lessons have been learnt through the development and delivery of the project which will be referenced across all the schemes currently in the planning stage now going forward.

63.7 ha of woodland creation (102,245 trees) on Yorkshire Water land at Gorpley Reservoir have now been planted!! We used in the main Core Contract Grown Stock – all UKISG from three of a main nursery partners – Thorpe Trees, Maelors and Alba. The vast majority of the trees have been planted by contractors. Thorpe Trees won the planting contract. They engaged two teams across the whole scheme – each with a site foremen and then between 5 and 7 member gangs to enable the planting.  We have a five year plant and maintain contract with Thorpe Trees for the site to ensure all the trees are thriving and living to meet the terms and conditions of the Forestry Commission Grant and inspection by the Rural Payments Agency.

Treesresponsility – a Community enterprise group who regularly work with the Woodland Trust in the area also delivered 5,000 stems on the site with their corporate volunteers.

The ground preparation for the new woodland entailed spot spray of glyphosate for every stem. Each stem has either a .75m or 1.2metre Tubex tree Guard.  All the woodland compartments have been fenced with nearly 8000 metres of sheep netting with a barbwire top.  Planting began in October 2019 and was completed first week February 2020

The Woodland Trust is about to complete on a 25 year lease for the site with Yorkshire Water – this has a particularly significant impact on the financial consideration for not only the direct cost of the capital programme but also the on-going maintenance of the new woodland. We are working up a contract services of supply with National Trust to be the main onsite presence for the partnership and so – to organisation for the day to day maintenance of the project.

The Partnership is now working on woodland creation programmes fourteen times the size of the Gorpley Project. This scheme has been instrumental in the step change that is required to woodland creation schemes in the South Pennines and across the Northern Forest…

Hannah Marshall- Outreach Officer, Northern Forest

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