A dozen landowners across Herefordshire & Shropshire will be planting over 1200 oak trees this winter as part of a project that aims to double the tree cover in Herefordshire. The project is a partnership between Extinction Rebellion, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, local landowners and parish councils in the Marches.

“Over the next decade we’re hoping to double the number of trees we plant each year so that together we plant a million trees by 2030.”

“This is our first year and it’s great to see so many people taking part. Planting a tree is something we can all do to help wildlife and our climate. We simply need to do a lot more of it. So, if you’d like to help tackle the climate crisis and have a good time doing it just get in touch. I’m particularly pleased to see Bishops Frome parish council taking part as I feel this is the sort of community activity that everyone can take part in.”

Project coordinator, David Gillam from Golden Valley Extinction Rebellion.

One of those planting trees is Bob Cunning who will plant 100 oak trees to complete a wood on their land as part of their ‘Trees for Tomorrow’ scheme. The scheme started in 1998 when Bob & Susie Cunning planted a black poplar in memory of Caitlin Hurcombe. This beautiful tree is now over 40 feet tall. “Planting a tree is an act of hope that will continue the greening of this beautiful corner of our threatened planet.” said Bob Cunning.

The Herefordshire initiative was inspired by the Stump Up For Trees project that is planning to plant a million trees on the Brecon Beacons near Abergavenny with schools and community groups taking part. The aim is to create native woodland that will absorb carbon and create habitat for wildlife.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Senior Conservation Manager Andrew Nixon and David Gillam from Extinction Rebellion first met as part of a group helping to plan how Herefordshire can best tackle the climate and nature crisis we are facing. Clearly, we have a huge amount to do in a very short time. We agreed that we really must get started with projects that can rapidly scale up and involve everyone in the county. Luckily tree planting is simple, effective and anyone can take part.

Trees provide wildlife habitat, food, medicine, shade, sustainable timber, improved air quality, natural flood management and healthier soil. It’s hard to overstate their benefit,” said Helen Heathfield from Canon Frome, who plans to plant her oak trees near her local primary school where the children have already planted some fruit trees this autumn. “Most importantly trees sequester carbon and so they mitigate climate change. Tree planting is one of the best ways to tackle this global crisis. Now we just have to get on with it.”

 “In addressing climate change, few actions are as critical, as urgent, or as simple as planting trees. This ancient carbon-absorbing technology needs no high technology, is completely safe and is very cheap.” Christiana Figueres, UN Executive Secretary for Climate Change.

Planting trees literally reverses the process that leads to climate change, in that as trees (and all other biomass) grow, they absorb CO2 from the air, release oxygen and return carbon to its rightful location: in the soil.

Every single one of us should plant one tree, ten trees or 20. It is a critically important contribution to addressing climate change now, without the need for sophisticated energy technologies.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Andrew Nixon said: “It is great to be part of this initiative to give advice on the hows and whys of tree planting. From urban and garden trees to orchards and woodlands we’re certainly keen to see more trees in Herefordshire to tackle both the climate and ecological emergencies. We also want to help people to pick the right tree for the space and environment that they are planting in and we can offer lots of advice about that. The Herefordshire landscape should be a mix of beautiful, wildlife-rich habitats – meadows, wetlands, orchards, heaths and woodlands – we need to see more of all of these for the benefit of both wildlife and people.”

Contact David Gillam, 07974 770212, xrherefordshireloco@gmail.com for more info