Students plant 1,200 trees

Snow could not deter students from the Buxton campus of the University of Derby from planting 1,200 trees to help extend ancient woodlands in the Dane Valley.

The student volunteers were working on privately-owned land at Gig Hall, near Wincle, on the Staffordshire-Cheshire border. It was part of the Dane Valley Woodland Project organised by the Peak District National Park Authority.

Project co-ordinator Rebekah Newman said: “The students did a brilliant job planting a range of native species including oak, birch, alder, hazel and rowan, dispersed randomly over the site.

“The aim is to mimic natural woodlands, and we’ll enhance the new plantings with crab apple and holly from locally harvested seed.

“Our objective is to link and enhance these woodlands, parts of which date back to the 1600s and are some of the most significant examples of ancient woods in the national park.

“The hope is that the newly-planted areas will become home to threatened woodland birds, including pied flycatcher and redstart, as well as wild flowers such as bluebell and wood anemone.”

The Authority is working with more than 20 different landowners along the River Dane and its tributaries on the project which is financially supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Forestry Commission and SITA Trust. This event was run by the Woodland Trust as part of its Jubilee Woods programme.

Rebekah Newman said: “We’re immensely grateful to all our supporters, to the students for giving up their time and effort in such conditions, and especially the landowner, who kindly provided hot soup on a very cold and snowy day.”