Invite to ‘epic task’ to tree plant new wood for wildlife in East Devon

Invite to ‘epic task’ to tree plant new wood for wildlife in East Devon

Community planting of thousands of trees begins this weekend in new woodland for East Devon to create a wildlife sanctuary.

The Woodland Trust is all the time inviting to its new Yonder Oak Wood near the Exe Estuary in Lymsptone with the ‘epic task’ of planting 13,000 trees.

Public Planting Days will be held on Saturday 4th February and Sunday 5th February from 10am to 3:30pm, and again on Saturday 18th February and Sunday 19th February. If you want to take part, you have to register.

The Woodland Trust hopes volunteers will donate a few hours of their time – or a whole day.

There is no on-site parking, but the charity has arranged free minibuses from Exmouth.

The site of the new wood.
Photo: The Woodland Trust.

Paul Allen, Woodland Trust site manager, said: “Creating a new wooded landscape that will harbor wildlife well beyond our lifetime and be resilient to changing climate is no easy task.

“The mass planting of trees is the first step in a decades-long journey to bring wildlife back to this place.

“Trees are a great natural solution to the climate crisis, they soak up CO2 and provide oxygen, and it’s great to see so many people wanting to step up and join this effort.”

400 young people from primary schools in Exmouth, Lympstone, Woodbury and Exeter will take part in the community tree planting campaign.

The SongFishers, a group of musicians living nearby, will be serenading tree planters with adapted traditional folk songs to include the new forest and will perform on Sunday 5th and Sunday 19th February at 10.30am.

Rachel Harries, Woodland Trust’s engagement and communications officer, has cleaned up her stock of spades for the community days.

She said: “Planting 13,000 trees is an epic task, but we find that so many people want to be part of this project from the start – there’s a real sense of community.

“With nature in crisis and climate change affecting both humans and wildlife, planting trees is a way to make a difference right on our doorstep.”

She added: “We expect to see more birds and butterflies like the Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher in a very short time – as well as butterflies like the Dingy Skipper and Curl.

“Imagine how exciting it will be — five or ten years from now — to come back and say, ‘I planted this forest.'”

The new forest, named in a public vote last year, lies in a hidden valley two miles north of Exmouth.

Work to clear the site of invasive laurel has begun, and the hope is to create “open clearings and woodland pastures” to attract wildlife.

The Woodland Trust bought the 54 acres of land in East Devon in March 2022 thanks to a public appeal that raised £650,000.

Further funding was provided by Lloyds Bank through the Government’s Landfill Communities Fund and a £750,000 Biffa Award.

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