First trees to be planted as rewilding gets under way

The planting of 5,000 new trees across North Somerset this month signals the start of North Somerset Council’s ambitious rewilding programme.

Rewilding involves creating more habitats for wildlife to flourish, increase biodiversity and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Last year the council agreed to rewild as much of its land as possible. Areas were identified where rewilding could take place and a three-month consultation period was held to get people’s views on the proposals.

The council decided to deliver rewilding in two ways – to let areas of grass grow throughout the summer and cut it in the autumn and to plant more trees. The aim is to plant 25 hectares of woodland – about 50,000 trees – and grow about 40 hectares of tall grass, reducing the areas of regularly mown grass by 25 per cent.

Rewilding also means managing sites in ways that are appropriate to their needs. This may involve restoring rare habitats such as limestone grassland or even felling trees that are diseased or are damaging structures.

Nearly 500 people responded to the consultation on the proposals with 78 per cent supporting rewilding and over 250 people volunteering to help with rewilding projects. Where concerns were expressed over some areas identified for rewilding, further consultation will take place with local residents on what is most appropriate for those areas.

Following the consultation the council has now selected the first areas to rewild and will be planting 5,000 trees, donated by the Woodland Trust, during the second half of February. Subject to the weather, planting will take place at the following locations:

Saturday 15 February
Watchouse Hill, Pill – 9am (188 trees) – meet at the site car park on The Green
Badger Rise, Portishead – 1.30pm (234 trees) – meet by the play area on Nightingale Rise

Sunday 16 February
Robin Place, Portishead – 9am (104 trees) – meet at junction of Robin Place and Wagtail Crescent
Central Park, Burlington Road, Portishead – 9.30am (116 trees) – meet at the Rusty Ladies
Halletts Way, Portishead – 12.30pm (162 trees) – meet at the play area on Halletts Way

Monday 17 February
Chestnut Grove, Clevedon – 10am (588 trees) – meet at the gate at the end of Chestnut Grove

Tuesday 18 February
Coleridge Road, Weston – 9.30am (150 trees) – meet by the Bournville Youth Club/Boxing Club
Locking Moor Road, Locking – 1pm (120 trees) – meet at lay-by between helicopter museum roundabout and Elm Tree Road

Wednesday 19 February
Arnolds Way, Yatton – 10am (116 trees) – meet at the corner of Brunel Way and Arnolds Way
Hutton Moor, Weston – 1pm (269 trees) – meet in Hutton Moor car park by the field gate

Thursday 20 February
Cricket Field, Poppy Close, Wick St Lawrence – 10am (379 trees) – meet behind the Ebdon Arms on the open space

Friday 21 February
Jubilee Park, Weston – 10am (82 trees) – meet at the entrance to the park from Windwhistle Lane

Saturday 22 February
Pound Lane, Nailsea – 9.30am (289 trees) – meet at the end of the cul-de-sac to Moor End Spout
Rhyne View, Nailsea – 2.30pm (85 trees) – meet at the main open space at Rhyne View

Sunday 23 February
Sedgemoor Close, Nailsea – 9.30am (302 trees) – meet at the field gate at the end of Sedgemoor Close
Trendlewood Way Park, Nailsea – 2.30pm (60 trees) – meet near the croquet club at Birdlip Close

Tuesday 25 February
Elm Farm, Wraxall – 9am (332 trees) – meet at the main field gate on Lodge Lane

Wednesday 26 February
Powis Close, Weston – 9.30am (143 trees) – meet at the end of the cul-de-sac at Powis Close
Castle Batch, Weston – 1pm (109 trees) – meet at Castle Batch car park

Thursday 27 February
Scot Elm Drive, Weston – 10am (195 trees) – meet at the entrance to the school on Scot Elm Drive

Saturday 29 February
Lynch Farm, Weston – 9.30am (211 trees) – meet at the path from Rossendale Close
Silverberry, Weston – 2pm (104 trees) – meet on the open space from Verbena Way

Sunday 1 March
Locking Road, Weston – 9.30am (215 trees) – meet at the corner of Baytree View and Locking Road
Ashcombe Park, Weston – 2pm (115 trees) – meet by the bottom play area in Ashcombe Park.

If you would like to get involved and help plant the trees please turn up to any of these events – just bring a spade, good footwear and suitable clothes for the weather. Council officers will be there to offer help and guidance.

More rewilding projects are planned for later in the year.

“Planting these 5,000 trees is the exciting first step in delivering our promise to rewild North Somerset and address our climate emergency,” said Cllr Bridget Petty, the council’s executive member for climate emergency and the environment.

“We are grateful to the Woodland Trust for donating these trees and special thanks to all those who have volunteered to help. We would love everyone to stay involved by looking after the areas where we are planting, delivering the next phases of tree planting and managing the tall grass areas in the future.”