Going greener: Free trees planted by volunteers in Ribble Valley

Local volunteers teamed up to plant 150 trees on a Ribble Valley farm to help improve local biodiversity and carbon capture.
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The initiative between The Friends of Bowland and local wildlife enthusiast Barrie Lofthouse was made possible by the donation of the trees through OVO Energy’s I Dig Trees scheme and the permission of a local landowner to plant the saplings on field margins.

Martin Charlesworth, secretary of the Friends of Bowland, said it took the seven volunteers, including a member of the Longridge Environment Group (LEG), three hours to plant a range of oak, green beech, alder, silver birch and hornbeam trees along field and stream edges.

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The saplings will be protected with spiral guards to prevent livestock nibbling them.

Job done - six of the volunteers take a well earned break after tree plantingJob done - six of the volunteers take a well earned break after tree planting
Job done - six of the volunteers take a well earned break after tree planting

Martin is now encouraging other people who know of likely sites for trees to apply to the I Dig Trees scheme which is administered by the TCV (formerly known as BTCV, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers). He said: “The OVO energy and TCV scheme has been going since 2015 and they’ve got up to two million trees now. The scheme is fairly self explanatory.”

He added that the schemes also benefit the farmer and help meet Government targets to improve the environment by planting many more trees and said: ”The landowner generously offered the land to be planted up after being approached by Barrie. We’re very grateful to theTalbot family for allowing the planting on land at Parsonage Farm. The vilage will benefit from having more wildlife and trees near a public footpath.”

The Friends of Bowland go out once a month to help with practical tasks and also arrange walks. Martin said: “We’ve been working for United Utilities and the Woodland Trust recently thinning spruce trees at Cowley Brook on Longridge Fell to allow deciduous native trees to flourish such as oaks, birch, rowans and hollies.”

Martin Charlesworth, secretary of Friends of BowlandMartin Charlesworth, secretary of Friends of Bowland
Martin Charlesworth, secretary of Friends of Bowland
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Community groups wishing to know more about the tree scheme should search for I Dig Trees on the TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) website. Anyone wishing to help plant trees in and around Ribchester should contact Martin Charlesworth on [email protected]

*The Friends of Bowland have been a member of TCVs Local Group network since the Friends’ creation 10 years ago and TCV provided a grant for the Friends to buy their first tools for conservation work.

* To apply for trees from the OVO energy scheme see tcv.org.uk/idigtrees or here

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