High hopes for trees in the High Peak
A major tree planting project is taking place as part of the High Peak Moors Vision and Plan. The Clough Woodland Project is developing new woodland in the cloughs and valleys of the Peak District in a natural and gradual way, often simply by letting nature take its course.
Why is it taking place?
Tree planting diversifies upland habitats, helping wildlife and wetlands.
By increasing the natural tree cover of the wooded areas of the Peak District, there are increased habitats for wildlife.
Another benefit to planting is the restoration and expansion of wetlands and river corridor habitats. This in turn encourages wildlife and helps to support water management in the uplands.
How is it carried out?
There are three main methods of increasing woodland areas: controlling grazing, allowing natural tree growth, and planting.
Young or small trees are especially vulnerable to grazing animals like sheep, so the saplings may be protected by fencing and tree guards. Working with shepherds will also reduce overgrazing.
When grazing is reduced in a certain area, native trees will be allowed to 'seed' naturally, and so will grow and spread without any human interference.
Planting ensures that a specific tree can grow in a certain place, and trees are matched to each site. The most common species used include: holly, rowan, common alder, silver birch, aspen, and sessile oak.
Everyone can be involved with this project. We have created a more accessible tree nursery at Longshaw where we can plant and grow trees from seed gathered on the estate. Visitors can help with this at the Muck In days we run - look at the Longshaw What's On page for more information - or by volunteering, and school groups will be able to get stuck in too.
We have also set up the Treegeneration project in the Dark Peak which enables local schoolchildren to get involved with collecting and planting acorns.
The project is not just about trees - people play a big part as well. By talking to people the project can take place to everyone's satisfaction.
The right to roam
It's only animals that are being kept out, not visitors! As part of the National Trust's commitment to accessibility, wherever fences are needed to prevent grazing, there will also be an access point to allow people through.
Practice makes perfect
Activities of this kind have taken place before in the Peak District. For example, in 2015 over 4km of old fencing and 1,000 tree guards were removed, from woodland successfully established over a decade before.