The planting of the South West’s new community forest is now underway, with children and young people at the heart of the action this half term.
As announced last summer, the Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest will stretch from the heart of the city to the edge of the moor, encompassing 1,900 hectares of land to form a mosaic of different forest habitats.
Unlike traditional forests, the community forest won't be geographically restricted to one place. Instead, it will encompass a mix of community woodland, private woodland, on street, urban woodland, wooded habitat corridors and hedgerows.
Now, to celebrate its real life, trees-in-the-ground launch, a series of events will take place from 24 February to mark a week of action in the project.
Aimed at getting as many young people involved as possible, the week will see schools and youth groups, green-fingered experts and amateur arborists get stuck into planting trees at a number of exciting activities.
Public events for all ages will also form part of the week with residents young and old able to get involved in...
POOLE FARM TREE DAY
Thursday 24 and Friday 25 February
Join us to kick off Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest’s Week of Action to plant a tree at Poole Farm and journey through the life cycle of a tree.
We’ll introduce the Community Forest Tree Nursery, learn about re-wilding, beavers, tree identification, woodland management and finish off with fruit tree pruning.
TREE CARE COURSE – AMENITY TREES – RADFORD ROAD TENNIS COURTS
Monday 28 February, 10am to 12.30pm
Come and learn how to care for your trees. We’ll look at watering, techniques to keep roots healthy, pruning and everything you need to help your trees thrive.
TREE CARE COURSE – YOUNG ORCHARD TREES – PLYMOUTH HOE
Monday 28 February, 10am to 12.30pm
Come and learn tips and techniques to help trees thrive and the importance of looking after our new and existing orchard trees as part of the Community Forest.
Councillor Patrick Nicholson, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: "I'm so pleased to see the community forest move from concept to action and I'm even more pleased to see young people at the very heart of it all.
"The week of action will certainly help us create a buzz around the forest and ensure that we deliver skills development and job creation will be relevant to today and tomorrow’s young people."
Toby Fox, Assistant Director of operations for the National Trust in the South West, said: "Trees and woods are good for both people and for wildlife and they also help to address the climate and nature emergency.
“This new community forest will give more people access to nature and will connect up habitats, helping wildlife to thrive. It also offers young people an opportunity to shape the environment for their own and future generations.”
Ross Kennerley, South West Regional Director, Woodland Trust, said: “It is great to be part of the part of these crucial first steps in the creation of the Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest.
“UK woodland cover currently stands at 13%. We need to hit 19%, if the UK is to meet its carbon net zero target by 2050. The young people planting trees at these events, are taking very real action in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss right here in Plymouth and South Devon. These trees will lock up carbon and improve these greenspaces for people and wildlife.”
South Hams District Council’s Leader, Cllr Judy Pearce, said: “This community forest is truly a wonderful project that expands beyond the city, into the South Hams and towards the moor. It is so important for creating rich habitats for now and future generations to come.
“The planned week’s events invites children and young people to get involved in the planting of trees. The very people who are so very passionate about our planet’s future and they need to be, because it’s their future too. Not only will the week’s events increase habitats of a range of animals, insects and birds, but it will also offset a proportion of our carbon footprint. Trees that will stand for decades and perhaps centuries to come. So go along to one of the events and get involved.”
The week of action marks the beginning of an exciting journey for the community forest. Over the next ten years, the area will benefit economically from more than 350 new jobs while environmentally, with the increase capture carbon/Co2 in the Plymouth area by 83% from current levels once full established.
The Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest is a partnership between Plymouth City Council, National Trust, Woodland Trust, South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council, the Forestry Commission, Forestry England, Devon Wildlife Trust, Plymouth Tree Partnership and Dartmoor National Park and is funded through the Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs’ Nature for Climate fund.