Volunteers help newly established woodlands thrive

Volunteer Ben Procter with YDMT's Chris Lodge secure a stake support.
Volunteer Ben Procter with YDMT's Chris Lodge secure a stake support.
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Efforts to plant new woodlands across one of Yorkshire’s most beautiful landscapes have been aided by volunteers from Skipton Building Society.

A team of staff from the Society’s finance department headed to Beamsley near Skipton to help members of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) charity, who are working to address a lack of broadleaf woodland across the Yorkshire Dales and Nidderdale.

Their afternoon was spent checking and straightening tree guards and stakes, and replacing any damaged ones, to provide support for the developing trees that were planted at the site - known as Howgill Side Wood - some seven years ago.

Chris Lodge, woodland officer at YDMT, said: “Woodlands not only help to absorb carbon dioxide, but as this tranquil site demonstrates, they also provide vital habitats for a range of wildlife, and places for people to enjoy.”

Howgill Side Wood extends to 14 hectares and was planted with 13,400 new native broadleaf trees and shrubs as part of the ongoing Dales Woodland Restoration Programme.

The project is delivered and funded by a partnership which includes YDMT, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission.

The trees were individually protected with tree guards to prevent rabbit damage and are now flourishing, together with an understory of grasses and wildflowers.

The Yorkshire Dales has less broadleaf woodland than any other national park. Only 4.5 per cent of the land is covered by trees compared with the national average of nine per cent.

To date, more than one million new native broadleaf trees have been planted as part of the Dales Woodland Restoration Programme.