Sep 07 2020

The Northern Forest Hits 2 Million!


It’s been over two years since the Northern Forest was announced and you may have been wondering how things are progressing… Well we’re very pleased to announce that we have hit a key milestone earlier this year of planting our 2 millionth tree!

It’s come as a bit of a great surprise as we had initially expected momentum to build slowly but this fills us with confidence that we can smash the 50 million tree target before 2043. It’s been a massive team effort!

Some of the more notable projects of the past year include those from our £2.1 million Defra funded Partnership Innovation Fund (PIF).

One example is the Leeds City Council Flood Alleviation Scheme 2 which includes a strong natural flood management theme. This programme is in response to massive flooding in Leeds City centre in 2015. With the council working in partnership with the Environment Agency we’ve awarded £700,000 in match funding from the PIF grant to help plant a third of a million trees in and around the River Aire catchment by the end of March 2022. This is the largest natural flood management scheme in the UK, and we’re really excited to see innovation at such a scale and hope to see the project used as a blueprint for large scale flood management in the future, with new trees forming a key part of slowing the flow.

But don’t forget, that as a partnership project, there are plenty of others working to realise the Northern Forest vision. A large scale woodland creation project at Gorpley Reservoir is another great example of this: being owned by Yorkshire Water, this site helps spearhead their ambition to plant 1 million new trees by 2028 and contribute to the Northern Forest. Yorkshire Water has worked closely with the Woodland Trust, White Rose Forest Partnership – one of the Community Forest partners, National Trust and others to develop a landscape scale vision around the reservoir.

This involved the planting of 93,000 trees over 63 ha with a range of other landscape improvements that have been made including peatland restoration and ‘leaky dams’ to slow the flow and contribute to natural flood management in the Calder catchment as well as lock up significant amounts of carbon.

Other partners such as Manchester City of Trees have been busy too for example at Boz Park in Whitfield. Here they engaged with 288 adults and 100 children in planting 3,250 trees, including standard tree planting and creating a new orchard, whilst areas of existing woodland have been brought into better management. Overall, the four Community Forests have planted over 618,342 trees so far towards The Northern Forest

But this is just the start for The Northern Forest so watch this space as there’s plenty more exciting work planned for 2020 and the years to come!

If you’d like more information about The Northern Forest please email

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