Mar 20 2020

Northern Forest Update

The Northern Forest has been a priority for the Woodland Trust now for 2 seasons with huge targets to hit via our MOREwoods projects. As of last week, the number of trees planted within the Northern Forest through MOREwoods was 103,000 trees  – An unbelievably achievement for everyone involved with what seemed like an almost unreachable target last summer. The target that DEFRA set was 100,000 so a little bit of breathing room left. The response we’ve had from landowners has been overwhelming with huge numbers of applications over the past 12 months showing how much the public want to do their bit to tackle climate change, improve biodiversity, mitigate flooding and improve the aesthetic value of their area through planting trees. The target for tree planting via MOREwoods for next season (Nov-March 20-21) is 180,000 – a really big increase in planting rates that’s going to take a lot of effort by multiple teams across the Trust, including our Woodland Creation Champions. We are already well on the way to visiting sites and going through applications of those who’ve already been in touch wanting to plant trees on their land but many more landowners are needed to continue to hit these targets we’ve been set. As an example, this month we have seen 12.95ha of potential woodland creation in the North approved via head office and sent out to advisers for visiting, a decent figure, but as always we need to ensure the right trees are being planted in the right places.
Outside of MOREwoods we’ve also had 1000s m worth of hedgerows planted across the Northern Forest as well, providing vital habitat connectivity within our highly fragmented landscapes.
Outside of MOREwoods but within the Northern Forest, we also had some really big sites planted this season – Gorply being the largest at 67.3 ha of woodland creation (102,245 trees) which is part of a much wider habitat improvement scheme in partnership with Yorkshire Water.
One of my favourite sites within the Northern Forest that I’ve worked on this season has been Make It Wild’s site near Summerbridge – where they’ve planted over 8500 trees across a new landing which connects directly to areas of ancient woodland and new woodland creation they already owned. On their land holding they also have an hay meadow where over 60 different species have been found – it is a wonderful site that shows how extending and protecting ancient woodland, whilst integrating trees into a farming system will have hugely important impacts on local biodiversity
 Hannah Marshall – Outreach Advisor, Northern Forest
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