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Volunteers are abuzz at Follaton Arboretum

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Members of staff from our Environment Group volunteered their time to help plant a whopping 210 trees for bees at Follaton Arboretum in Totnes, as part of a scheme to plant 1,450 trees across five sites.

The young trees, called whips, are being planted at South Hams District Council sites through the Devon County Council Emergency Tree Fund, which has been made possible from funding secured from The Woodland Trust.

Parklife, on behalf of South Hams District Council, carried out this first phase of planting in Totnes ably assisted by our Environment Group, who had a fun and productive day planting the trees.

Both authorities are committed to their climate emergency and biodiversity targets of reaching net-zero.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, said:

“Devon County Council is very fortunate to have been provided with funding by the Woodland Trust through its Emergency Tree Fund. This will demonstrate how Devon can accelerate new tree planting to tackle the climate and ecological crisis and to counter the effects of tree diseases, such as ash dieback. In this particular case we were delighted to be able to use our staff volunteering scheme to get the trees into the ground. We are also providing free trees to a number of landowners across the District and supporting town and parish councils with their tree planting ambitions.”

Councillor Tom Holway, South Hams District Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity, said: “This is such a wonderful scheme which breathes new life into the Arboretum to help to maintain it for future generations. It provides an important habitat firstly for the bees because these trees have been specially chosen to give them what they need to thrive. But also for the other creatures that these trees will provide new habitats for, such as the bugs, birds and burrowers. What is even more exciting is that this is only the first 200 of the whips to be planted and there are still another 1250 left to plant around the District.”

Keith Rennells, Director of ParkLife South West, said: “Right across the South Hams, people are looking to make a positive contribution to the climate emergency, and tree planting is one way of doing so. If you combine this with landscape and biodiversity enhancement, there has never been a more important time to plant trees. All of these trees are being planted by volunteers, who can enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of being active in the great outdoors!”

A mixture of broadleaf whips were planted, with flowering trees in particular chosen for their abundance of nectar and pollen known as ‘floral resources’ that is even more bountiful than herbaceous plants.

Although all the trees planted in the Arboretum are special for a variety of reasons. The Wild Cherry has dark red cherries and a beautiful display of blossom. The Crab Apple has delicate pink flowers and its fruit makes for very tasty jams and jellies. The Elder creates great drinks, such as cordial and wine from its flowers and fruit. For those gin lovers, Blackthorn fruit is perfect for making sloe gin. Did you know that legend suggests that the Rowan protects it against evil spirits? While Hazel is perfect for coppicing and simply overflows with nature. While the last of the whips planted, the Hawthorn is special because it can support an abundance of other species. These are all something to look forward to seeing when they reach their maturity.