TREE-MENDOUS EFFORT: Trees for Teesdale volunteers enjoyed a record breaking year for planting and the amount of time donated
TREE-MENDOUS EFFORT: Trees for Teesdale volunteers enjoyed a record breaking year for planting and the amount of time donated

MORE than 3,000 trees have been planted across the dale during the past year by an environmental group, despite having part of the year disrupted by Covid-19.

Trees For Teesdale is run entirely by volunteers who encourage and facilitate tree planting through their five branches in Cotherstone, Barningham, Mickleton, Barnard Castle and Gainford.

In his annual report chairman Geoff King said all five groups had remained active, finding new sites for planting as well as maintaining existing areas and the organisation’s own nursery.

He said: “We have continued to work on a variety of sites, but have, as last season, generally progressed to more open sites, where we can plant more trees with less time and funds spent on protection.

“This was originally forced on us by Covid restrictions but has proved to be a step forward.

“We have had a very successful planting season, with no shortage of volunteers and some volunteers working for more than one group when needed.”

Mr King said the Barningham branch had collaborated with the village’s Net Zero group to secure additional funding.

As a result, volunteers planted 374 trees in various settings and 595 hedge whips to make 120 metres of new hedgerow and wildlife shelters.

The branch has 33 volunteers who offered up 275 hours of work.

Mr King added: “The other four groups together have planted a total of 2,714 trees and hedge whips, creating over 300 metres of mixed hedge and 70 metres of beech hedge together with several copses, tree belts and several trees in individual cages.

“The four groups have had 38 people working, with more than about 275 hours of volunteer time given.”

The figures, Mr King said, are new record for the organisation. He said funding from county councillor James Rowlandson had enabled Trees for Teesdale to continue planting into the next season as well as buying fencing and other protection for trees.

He said: “We also received a donation of 950 trees, together with canes and rabbit guards from ‘I Dig Trees’, part of Ovo Energy, and 420 trees, again with guards, from The Woodland Trust.

“Other trees and whips were purchased or donated to us by private donors.”

He concluded: “We have identified sites to commence planting next season, but as usual, work must continue through the summer, recruiting new volunteers and searching for new sites to plant in for the future.”