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Pupils plant trees to help rescue derelict woodland

This is an archived press release

Monday 3 March 2008

3 March 2008

Pupils plant trees to help rescue derelict woodland

More than 40 schoolchildren helped plant trees to safeguard the future of a once-derelict woodland in the Peak District National Park.

Pupils from Earl Sterndale, Hollinsclough and Longnor schools were asked to help rescue the two-hectare High Edge Wood, near Earl Sterndale, by national park woodland conservation officer Steve Tompkins.

“This was our largest project with schools so far,” said Steve. “The children worked superbly well, planting young trees such as ash, hawthorn, rowan, blackthorn and beech, putting up nest-boxes and trying their hands at dry stone walling.

“Three months ago High Edge was a completely derelict woodland. Now, with the willing co-operation of the landowners and tremendous hard work by our contractors during some awful winter weather, it has been rescued. The children’s contribution helped us finish it off with hope for the future.”

The work would not have been possible without an £18,000 grant from the Derbyshire Aggregates Levy scheme and £3,000 from the Peak District National Park Authority. Steve added: “We also want to thank the landowners for their generous support in leasing the land to the authority for free, enabling the work to be done.”

A team of tree surgeons, dry stone wallers and tree planters spoke to the children about their work. They have sometimes worked 12-hour days to complete the job, felling dead and dangerous trees, pollarding others and rebuilding boundary walls. A public footpath is being diverted to take walkers through the rejuvenated woodland.

“Woodlands are little islands of nature reserves for birds, plants, mammals and insects amid stretches of farmland,” said Steve. “I spotted this one in a poor state, and I’m so glad we were able to get the funding and support to do something about it.”

Many of the youngsters are already doing conservation work of their own, working with national park rangers on the John Muir Trust Award scheme, which includes discovering, exploring and conserving a wild place in their communities.

Headteacher Sue Evans, of Longnor’s St Bartholomew School, said: ”It was a wonderful  chance for the children to experience the traditional countryside skills, that shape their local environment, at first hand.”

This is an archived press release

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