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The Hubbard family have learned how to make the most of any space available to them.
Every inch has to count as they live in a cramped caravan with their six children while they do up the house on their 30-acre smallholding on the Llyn Peninsula, near Pwllheli.
And parents Richard and Linda have taken a similar approach to the land which they bought five years ago by planting trees in all the corners of their fields, where a tractor and machinery can’t get at.
Now, with the help of a Glastir woodland creation grant administered by Forestry Commission Wales, the couple are planting more trees on the land at Ty’n Llwyn which they also rent out for grazing sheep.
It’s all part of the gradual realisation of a dream of buying their own holding and returning to the area where Linda was brought up, with stunning views across to St Tudwal’s islands in Tremadog Bay.
The family moved to New Zealand, where Richard worked on a government-owned deer farm while they saved up and waited for the right opportunity back home in Wales.
Today, they raise wild boar, chickens, guinea fowl and turkeys, and Richard also keeps busy as a contractor erecting gates, fences and stiles, as well as carrying out squirrel and fox control, deer stalking and tree work.
The trees on their land provide a wide range of environmental benefits, such as controlling flooding, improving the soil and providing essential wildlife habitats.
Richard said, “When we bought the land we were keen to provide shelter and screening for the fields and buildings and do our bit to help the environment, so a priority was to get fields re-fenced, plant more hedges to act as wildlife corridors and plant as many small blocks of native woodland as we could.
“As long as the trees are planted well and weeded, they put on growth at a phenomenal rate.”
Their early plantings are now three years old and doing well and, after seeking the free advice and support of management planner Mike Langley of Coed Cymru, they planted 1,600 trees – mainly ash, alder and downy birch – early this year.
The Glastir woodland creation scheme pays up to £4,500 per hectare for planted new woodland, depending on the type of woodland.
Richard and Linda chose to access the grant of £2,890 per hectare for a native woodland for biodiversity, and the trees will also help tackle climate change as they will absorb and lock up carbon dioxide throughout their lifetime.
The grant, which was developed by Forestry Commission Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government, is a stand-alone section within Glastir. Landowners do not need to have applied for the Glastir All-Wales element and it will not have any effect on any future application to Glastir.
There is also a compensatory payment of up to £300 per hectare for 15 years for taking land out of production, and additional money for fencing and gates is paid at a rate of £3.15 per metre.
The grant is available to all landowners in Wales who have more than 0.25 ha of suitable land available for planting new woodlands.
For more information on grants for new planting, ring 0300 068 0300 and ask for the Forestry Commission Wales Glastir woodland team, e-mail email@example.com or look online www.forestry.gov.uk/glastirwoodland
NOTES TO EDITORS
A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to other woodland owners and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email firstname.lastname@example.org