Volunteers plant 1,000 trees in Clyst Valley to ‘provide much-needed buffer’ to M5

More than 130 volunteers of all ages joined forces and planted 1,000 trees and shrubs to help enhance the Clyst Valley.

Volunteers gathered at West Clyst Farm in a bid to recreate an acre of historic orchard and create half-an-acre of woodland and 90 metres of new hedgerow.

They included 60 children from West Clyst Community Primary School and members of East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Clyst Valley Regional Park team.

English oak, aspen, rowan, Scot’s pine, downy birch and holly were among species planted in the new woodland.

EDDC says this will ‘provide a much-needed buffer’ to the M5 at West Clyst to reduce traffic noise and emissions to help combat climate change, as well as increase wildlife.

Some 28 new apple trees were planted in the restored orchard including local Devon varieties such as Tom Putt, Don’s Delight and Reverend McCormick.

They have filled in gaps between existing trees, many of which are a century old.

Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC’s portfolio holder for environment, said: “It may surprise some of you, but East Devon has only about 12 per cent tree cover.

“We know that trees are important to capture carbon, good for retaining water to help prevent flooding, and great for wildlife habitat.

“Many European countries have 30% or more tree cover, even London has more at 22 per cent!

“So we are very grateful to all the volunteers who turned up over the weekend to help us plant more trees and hedges in the Clyst Valley.”

New hedgerow planted included hawthorn, blackthorn, field maple, hazel and dogwood.

Local contractor Ed Shere brought his cleverly-designed machinery for scarifying the ground and laying the mulch mat for the hedgerow.

The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group guided everyone present on how to plant to ensure every tree gets the best start in life.

Clyst Valley Regional Park is supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund and has been given special protection by EDDC with the aim of creating high-quality green spaces linked by trails.

The planting project meets a key objectives to protect irreplaceable habitats, restore natural processes and increase the size, quality, quantity and connectivity of priority natural habitat and populations of key species.

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