Free advice, with help to access tree planting grants, is being offered to farmers and landowners to help boost woodland creation.
The tree-planting project is being delivered by the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Skell Valley Project Team.
Alice Crosby, Woodland Creation Project Officer at Nidderdale AONB, said: “As landowners will
Funds are available to farmers and landowners who live in the Skell Valley catchment area for small scale planting, of just over one acre or less, this winter. Grants can cover 100% of planting costs.
Alice said: “It might be a field corner, a shelterbelt or something bigger, it is more about making trees work for you and your farm. Grants can be tailored and could include new fencing, gates, buying and planting trees, tree protection, and money for ten years of maintenance, to ensure that your new woodland gets off to the best start.”
The team are also keen to hear from other locations across the district to plant during winter in 2023 and beyond. All tree planting will be subject to suitability checks.
Nidderdale, a nationally protected landscape, is home to over 400 farmers and covers half the Harrogate District in North Yorkshire.
AONB staff provide training workshops and conservation advice to farmers and landowners.
Currently 8% of the AONB is woodland including 1,245 hectares of Ancient Woodland. 1,872 ha is planted conifer woodland, 187 ha is mixed woodland and 2,527 ha is broadleaf.
Alice said, “It’s important to increase the number of trees planted in the AONB, but we want to emphasise quality planting, as 50% of the land in the AONB is not suitable for woodland creation. We can help identify priority areas for future planting sites, as well as help safeguard ancient woodland and other special habitats.”
She added: “It’s counter-intuitive but trees can have a negative impact on wildlife if they aren’t planted in the right spot. For some species, like wading birds and adders, woodland can be damaging. So, it is important to get advice.”
The best time to plant trees is in the winter, from November to February.
To find out more contact nidderdaleAONB@harrogate.gov.uk