200,000 trees planted in North Pennines

New woodlands have been planted in the North Pennines thanks to the help of local communities.

More than 200,000 native broadleaved trees – covering a total area the size of 400 football pitches – are set to grow, providing new habitat for wildlife and recreational spaces for visitors.

New woodland at Cowbyres Farm, Blanchland Credit: NPAP/ Lis Airey

New woodland at Cowbyres Farm, Blanchland Credit: NPAP/ Lis Airey

The North Pennines Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership is behind the  ‘Living North Pennines’ project.

Since 2008 woodland officer, Lis Airey, has been working with landowners, organisations and communities throughout the north of England, to establish almost 200 hectares of new woodland.

A further 100 hectares already agreed for planting next winter.

Lis Airey said: “Some of the woodland is low density, and is positioned to provide future habitat for black grouse, an upland bird that favours the moorland edge scrub woodlands of rowan, birch, willow, hawthorn and alder.

“Lower in the valleys ash and oak woods dominate, rich with an understorey of bird cherry, hazel, goat willow, rowan and alder.”

Community involvement

Local communities have been involved in the tree planting project from the start.

More than a hundred people have given their time to help at volunteer tree plantings, as have 25 schools, colleges and community groups.

To date 145,000 trees have been planted at 25 locations.

Work involved

Eight hectares of native woodland has been planted on the south shores of Selset reservoir following the removal of two windblown conifer plantations on land owned by Northumbrian Water Ltd.

Further north, mixed plantations on the shores of Derwent Reservoir and at Pow Hill near Blanchland on the County Durham and Northumberland border have been restructured to give existing native trees more space to develop, and newly planted trees space to grow. A new multi-user footpath follows the shore through these woods.

In Cumbria, a large scale restructuring scheme on the Rock House Estate above Nenthead saw conifers felled and replaced by 10 hectares of native broadleaved woodland. A further four hectares was planted on adjacent land earlier this year linking woodland fragments at Gudham Gill.

A public footpath links both of these sites.

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