RSPB staff and volunteers at Dove Stone have created a new woodland in a valley at the Peak District site that will provide a range of public benefits, as well as help local wildlife.
Over the past three months, the team at Dove Stone, including 15 hardy volunteers has planted more than 12,000 trees across 20 hectares (49 acres). The mixture of native UK trees including oak, birch and willow will help stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, which in turn will improve water quality, help lock up harmful carbon in the ground and reduce the risk of downstream flooding.
In the long term, the trees will also provide a home to a range of woodland birds including redstarts and flycatchers, as well as butterflies, bumble bees and even deer.
The RSPB project has been supported by land owner United Utilities, Peak District National Park Authority, Natural England, Forestry Commission and the local tenant farmer.
Kate Hanley, the RSPB warden who led the project, said: “It's exciting that so many people have come together to help deliver a landscape-scale conservation project, and our amazing volunteers should have special mention as they have worked so hard in all weathers to help us plant over 12,200 trees. Nothing stops them, not even the Beast from the East!
“The valley is going to be transformed, and we're looking forward to seeing the woodland grow to support some of our declining woodland wildlife.”
Ian Short is an RSPB volunteer who has been working on the woodland creation project. He said:
“When I retired 18 months ago, after years of office work I was definitely up for getting outdoors and meeting some new people.
“I love trees as much as I love birds. Ancient Woodland is the richest and most wonderful wildlife habitat of all. It is very satisfying indeed, after spending a day on the hill working hard with your friends, to look back at your handiwork and realise that generations to come will be able to enjoy a mature mixed woodland where until now there is only grass and bracken.”
Rob Hudson, United Utilities woodland officer, said: “The volunteers have done an amazing job and their work will bring huge benefits to the valley, both for wildlife and water quality, for generations to come.”