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A farm located in stunning Cumbrian countryside is branching out as part of a new push to encourage tree planting to help tackle flooding and improve water quality.
The Forestry Commission has awarded a £28,000 grant to create seven hectares of woodland at Croft Head Farm, near Dacre.
Brothers Malcolm and Andrew Todd, who run the 430 acre sheep and dairy farm, have worked with the Eden Rivers Trust to make the scheme a reality.
Malcolm Todd explained:
“The land which has been planted up was unproductive, so creating new woodland seemed like a good option with long term benefits.
Ultimately, the woods could provide an additional source of income for the farm, which currently has very little tree cover, and produces no timber.”
Most of the new planting runs alongside the steep Thackthwaite Ghyll on Little Mell Fell and will combat soil erosion after downpours and reduce the rate of flood water cascading down the hillside. The trees will also provide shade, vital for keeping small upland streams like this cool.
Another two hectares will create wet woodland around Greaves Beck, providing a natural buffer to stop livestock entering the water and also a barrier to reduce slurry and soil washing off farmland into the stream, a tributary of the River Eden.
The venture is being funded through a ground-breaking Forestry Commission 'woods for water' initiative under the English Woodland Grant Scheme. Streamside planting knits soil together, reduces sediment, alleviates the severity of flooding and helps filter out unwanted run off from fields.
Jim O'Neill, from the Forestry Commission, explained.
“Large areas of Cumbria are included in the scheme, which was launched last year and which targets funding using detailed maps. Crofthead is an excellent example of partnership working and will produce major benefits, both for the farm and the wider landscape.”
Tree species taking root include sessile oak, sweet chestnut, small leaved lime, silver birch, alder and field maple.
Lucy Butler from the Eden Rivers Trust explained:
“It is fantastic to see so many trees being planted alongside the streams at Croft Head. They will provide long-term benefits for the river, people and wildlife. Eden Rivers Trust is proud to have been part of this great project that will help keep local rivers healthy and resilient to climate changes in the future”.
The Woodland Trust also provided trees for the project, many of which were planted by local volunteers.
For more information on Forestry Commission grants and how to apply go to www.forestry.gov.uk/ewgs or contact 01524 565800.
Notes to Editor
1. Tackling flooding and improving water quality are two of the key
priorities under the revamped EWGS. High levels of grant are available for schemes which meet these goals in targeted geographical areas, which include the Lake District and other river catchments.
Other aims of the EWGS include nurturing more publicly accessible woodlands, linking together existing woodland habitats and creating productive woods to support the rural economy are also highlighted.
Grants up to £4,800 per hectare are available subject to being within key areas and meeting eligibility rules.
2. Forestry Commission England runs the EWGS to protect, improve and expand our forests, as set out in the Government Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statementhttp://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/2013/01/31/pb13871-forestry-policy-statement/.
EWGS is a part of the Rural Development Plan for England (RDPE).
Further information about these schemes can be found atwww.defra.gov.uk/rural/rdpe/index.htm
3. Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.
4. Media calls: Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.