Peak District project will put down roots for landmark woodland legacy
Friday 15 July 2022
The Peak District National Park Authority and the Woodland Trust have agreed a landmark collaboration to help increase native woodland in the National Park.
The £1m project will see some 105 hectares (400 acres) – more than 260 football-pitches – of new native woodland created across the next 3 years, supported by a dedicated Woodland Creation officer.
The programme will provide a significant boost to six years of previous work by the Authority on similar projects, which has increased woodland creation by around 15 hectares (37 acres) a year in the National Park.
The project will involve designing and then overseeing the planting of schemes, and supporting landowners to monitor and maintain sites to ensure the woodlands successfully establish.
Local farmers and landowners will be involved in helping to locate and develop the new woodland sites, which will be carefully selected based on their suitability for planting.
Each new Peak District planting site will contribute to the larger Northern Forest that stretches from Liverpool to the Yorkshire coast, and will be delivered via the Defra-Nature for Climate Fund, which supports the Northern Forest Partnership ‘Grow Back Greener’ programme.
The newly created woodlands will focus on the four key themes of the ‘Grow Back Greener’ programme: linking existing ancient woodlands; creating riparian woodlands; woodland creation through natural processes; and schemes which contribute to regional carbon sequestration goals.
Leading on the project, new Farm Advisor for Woodland Creation, Matt Mardling said: “Well thought-out woodland establishment is part of ensuring we deliver for nature and confront climate change in the National Park. The assistance available through this scheme should ensure that landowners can fulfil their aspirations for their land as efficiently as possible.
“Dedicated support will be available to help navigate the challenges of ensuring schemes contribute to the special character of our Peak District landscapes, while also expanding vital woodland cover.”
Suzanne Fletcher, Head of Landscape at the Peak District National Park Authority, added: “These schemes will provide a multitude of benefits, improving wildlife, water quality and flood management, and supporting farm businesses across the Peak District.
“Through new partnerships, such as this one with the Woodland Trust, and collaborative working with local farmers and landowners we can go much further in creating quality woodlands in the right places to help tackle the challenges presented by climate change.”
Simon Mageean, the Woodland Trust’s Programme Director for the Northern Forest, said: “Farmers and landowners in the National Park will be able to apply for up to 100% of the actual costs of woodland creation, and a maintenance payment for aftercare, thanks to this grant funding from the Government’s Nature for Climate Fund, which is helping to deliver the England Trees Action Plan.
“The Grow Back Greener approach is holistic, flexible and site-specific, with enhanced advisor support at no cost to the landowner or land manager and an emphasis on quality nature outcomes. The National Park Authority will open an application process for interested farmers and landowners in 2022.”