Plans to restore wildlife in the Yorkshire Dales

The Woodland Trust is aiming to plant 291 hectares of trees in Yorkshire to restore a site which centuries ago was "blessed with swathes of woodland".

The first of the 100,000 trees were planted in Snaizeholme earlier in April in what is considered a "significant moment" for the Woodland Trust. The ancient glacial valley, which is 561 hectares in size, is almost devoid of trees. Currently, less than 5% of the Yorkshire Dale National Park is covered by trees, and only 1% of this is ancient woodlands.

The Woodland Trust is trying to change this and raise £8 million to help restore the area as part of a decade-long programme. The scheme will provide habitats for threatened species such as woodland birds and black grouse which are one the Red List of most endangered species.

As trees also slow down water flow on hillsides, they will help improve wetlands for otters, kingfishers and other species whilst also acting as a natural barrier against floods to protect the local populations.

The charity is also planning to plant trees next to an existing ancient woodland where red squirrels live, expanding their home, while dry stone walls currently in place will be maintained to offer shelter for small mammals and lizards.

As well as giving the local ecosystem a massive boost, the initiative will also help tackle climate change by locking away carbon for years to come and help improve water quality.

The Trust hopes the new forest in Yorkshire will eventually surpass in size the current largest continuous woodland, another of its sites in Heartwood in Hertfordshire.

Léa's takeaway

It's great to see so many of these initiatives getting started across the countries and know that they'll make a huge impact in the next few years for us to witness.

If you want to know more about the Woodland Trust project and donate to help them in their mission, you can click here.

The National History Museum has also put together a very handy article on how to make your garden more wildlife friendly so you can help do your bit for the planet. It's also the perfect excuse for a trip to the garden centre!

Blog Author: Léa Gorniak - May 8th 2023

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