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Covid fails to halt determined tree group volunteers

Climate change activists have managed to plant hundreds of trees in recent months, despite the lockdown and the pandemic.

Dane Valley Climate Action Group has completed the planting at six sites within its target area, a total of 650 assorted indigenous trees.

This was all achieved despite restricting the number of volunteers to two or three for each planting session, to minimise any risk from the coronavirus. This was very different to the mass planting sessions the previous season, when as many as 30 or more volunteers took part and were able to complete the planting of a site in one session.

With fewer volunteers, it has been a much slower process, the group said. However, with the dedicated commitment from a few volunteers, who devoted several planting sessions to each site, it was possible to complete all the plantings as originally planned.

In addition, on two sites the volunteers erected fencing to protect the trees from damage by stock.

Most of the sites were quite small, with each having space for only around 100 trees or fewer. These included Gun End Barn, Bent Head Farm, Rouster Farm, The Bent and Bennettshill Farm.

All the landowners were pleased with the results. Roger Lawrence, owner of Rouster Farm, said: “With all the problems and worries that 2020 brought to many of us, it is wonderful to see a group like Dane Valley Climate Action Group continue unfaltering in their tree planting programme to help provide a greener and more carbon neutral future for us all. I am delighted to have been able to provide some land to assist them in their goals.”

The largest site was at Ryecroft Farm, home to Lyn and Ian Ankers, where a total of 254 trees were planted.

The couple commented: “We are really pleased that we have been able to spare some land for the planting and hope that this and all the hard and selfless work of Dane Valley Climate Action Group will help, in some small way, to provide a more secure and sustainable future for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.”

Dane Valley Climate Action Group was established in October 2019. It adopted its constitution in March 2020 and appointed seven trustees. It operates within the villages of Bosley, Danebridge, Heaton, Rushton Spencer, Swythamley and Wincle, and their environs.

The main aims of the group are to facilitate the changes that need to be made by all residents in order to reduce the community’s collective carbon footprint to the minimum achievable; and to undertake practical activities that benefit nature and the natural environment as well as helping in the fight against climate change.

Chair of the trustees Julian Ruddock said that the success of the recent tree planting programme was down to three factors – volunteer labour, free trees and donations of materials.

“We are very grateful to those who worked hard in planting the trees. Sincere thanks are due to Sam Alston, who provided most of the trees from unwanted nursery stock that he had planted out in his vegetable plot and nurtured, and to others who donated saplings which they had grown, or which had self-seeded in inappropriate places.

“We are also most grateful to Carrs-Billington for its donation of fencing materials, and to Travis Perkins for donating timber supports.

“We have also been fortunate in receiving donations of used tree protectors, which we have been able to refurbish and re-use.”

He added: “We are already looking towards the next tree planting season, starting in November. Several sites have already been offered and we have been gifted some tree stocks and tree protectors by Cheshire Wildlife Trust.

“What we still need are more tree protectors, stakes and fencing materials. Over the summer we hope to arrange some fundraising events and to apply for funds from appropriate bodies.”

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