100,000 trees planted on Dartmoor

Laura White
Laura White

There was a big gathering at Brook Manor, Buckfastleigh, on the first Sunday in February,  when Moor Trees, the South Brent charity, celebrated the planting of 100,000 native trees across Dartmoor.

Their patron, RSPB chair Kevin Cox was joined by staff, volunteers and Trustees to witness the marking of this titanic project.

Adam Owen, Director of Moor Trees told The Moorlander: “Over that last 20 years Moor Trees has grown and planted or supplied 100,000 trees. All the trees we have grown have been planted, which makes the 100,000.

‘In addition we grew and planted 7,400 to landowners for our own (Moor Trees) planting schemes in 2019/20. Also, this winter we worked in partnership with Devon Wildlife Trust to facilitate their scheme. Some funding has come from the Woodland Trust. All the trees were grown by Moor Trees and we supplied 7,300 to the Devon Wildlife Trust Greater Horseshoe Bat project, of which we planted 2,000.”

This year Moor Trees has grown and planted or supplied over 15,000 trees, more than double that of last year, in response to an unprecedented number of requests from landowners for new woodland and hedgerows.  This winter nearly 20 acres of woodland and 1 mile of hedgerow will have been created by hundreds of volunteers, which will bring great benefits to the local
environment in years to come.

The bat project works throughout the Greater Horseshoe Bat’s key breeding and feeding grounds in Devon to improve understanding, awareness and habitat for this rare and threatened species.

The bat requires tall, thick bushy hedgerows to find its way across the landscape as well as woodland edge habitats for feeding and navigating.
The trees will greatly increase the hedge and woodland edge habitats available to them. For  more information and to find out how to borrow a bat detector for free through the Devon Bat Survey have a look at: www.devonbatproject.org

Patron Kevin Cox commented, “It is wonderful knowing that by planting native woodland or new hedgerows, we are contributing to improving the opportunities for some of our most vulnerable wildlife, such as the Greater Horseshoe Bat.

‘Not only do the trees provide new homes and feeding grounds for these creatures, the trees will also be absorbing carbon dioxide, filtering pollution, reducing flooding by slowing water flowing from the land into the rivers, protecting soil erosion and of course helping us.

‘It has been shown that by spending time in nature, and particularly around trees helps our mental and physical wellbeing. Planting the right tree in the right place is surely one of the best things we can all do.’

Moor Trees worked with landowners planting broadleaf trees on over 220 acres around Dartmoor and the South Hams. This has been going on since 1999. The volunteers turn out on Sundays throughout the winter months to plant oak, birch, willow, hawthorn, holly and many more, grown specially in nurseries at Dartington and near Diptford from seed collected in the area.

With climate change and species extinctions now very much in the news, the use to which the countryside is put is more than ever under scrutiny.

Adam Owen added, “We have been increasing our tree production in the last 18 months due to more and more requests for trees. One of the challenges for us is funding.  We continue to receive monies from individual donors and grants from organisations like the Woodland Trust, yet we could do so much more.  With more money we could provide 100,000 trees a year!  If an individual or a business is interested in becoming a supporter of Moor Trees please contact us.”

The charity is always looking for new sites and for willing volunteers. If you are interested in supporting the restoring of native woodland by volunteering or if you have land that you would like to give over to woodland, visit
www.moortrees.org to find more information and contact details. Moor Trees also provides
research, education and training programmes with partner schools, colleges and universities.

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