February community dates announced for ‘epic task’ to tree plant a new wood for wildlife in East Devon

Community planting of thousands of trees begins this weekend at a new wood for East Devon in a bid to create a haven for wildlife.

The Woodland Trust is inviting all along to its new Yonder Oak Wood near the Exe Estuary, at Lymsptone, with the ‘epic task’ of planting 13,000 trees.

Public planting days are being held from 10am until 3.30pm on Saturday February 4, and Sunday, February 5, and again on Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19. Those planning to attend must book.

The Woodland Trust hopes volunteers will donate a few hours of their time – or a whole day.

There is no parking on site, but the charity has arranged free minibuses from Exmouth.

East Devon

The site of the new wood.
Photo: The Woodland Trust.

Paul Allen, Woodland Trust site manager, said: “Creating a new wooded landscape that will host wildlife way beyond our lifetimes and be resilient to the changing climate is no mean feat.

“The mass tree planting is the first step in what will be a decades-long journey to bring wildlife back to this site.

“Trees are a great natural solution to the climate crisis, soaking up CO2 and delivering oxygen, and it’s great to see so many people wanting to step up and join this effort.”

Joining in the community tree-planting will be 400 youngsters from primary schools in Exmouth, Lympstone, Woodbury and Exeter.

The SongFishers, a group of musicians who live nearby, will serenade tree planters with adapted traditional folk songs to include the new wood, performing on Sunday 5 and Sunday 19 February, at 10.30am.

Rachel Harries, Woodland Trust engagement and communications officer, has been cleaning her stock of spades ready for the community days.

She said: “Planting 13,000 trees is an epic task but we’re finding that so many people are wanting to get involved in this project right from the very beginning – there’s a real sense of community coming together about it.

“With nature in crisis and climate change affecting both people and wildlife, planting trees is a way we can make a difference right on our doorstep.”

She added: “In a very short time, we expect to see more birds and butterflies, like willow warblers and spotted flycatchers – as well as butterflies such as the dingy skipper and ringlets.

“Imagine how exciting it will be – in five, or ten years’ time – to come back and say, ‘I planted this wood’.”

The new wood, which was named last year in a public vote, sits in a hidden valley two miles north of Exmouth.

Work has begun clearing the site of invasive laurel, and the hope is to create ‘open glades and wood pasture’ to attract wildlife.

The Woodland Trust bought the 54 hectares of land in East Devon in March 2022, thanks to a public appeal which raised £650,000.

Further funding was made available from Lloyds Bank, through the Government’s Landfill Communities Fund, and a Biffa Award of £750,000.

  • Book here to tree plant.

Consultation date is announced as views are invited to shape a new 25-acre public meadow in East Devon


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