The Woodland Trust has managed to secure more land for nature by announcing a £7m bid on a tree-less landscape to protect and expand a rare squirrel reserve. By doing this, the charity has doubled its land in Snaizeholme, near Hawes, North Yorkshire and aims to create a mosaic of habitats to allow nature to recover and to combat climate change.
Just a year ago, the charity managed to raise £3.5m to buy these 550 acres in the White Rose Forest. As part of the Northern Forest area, the land is close to the Yorkshire Three Peaks walking route in the moorland of Grove Head. It now just needs £7m to transform the new piece of land, expanding the reserve to just under 1,400 acres.
The project’s end goal
The Woodland Trust’s northern estate manager, Al Nash, said that this increase in land will help fight against climate change and the biodiversity crisis. He also said that, “Snaizeholme is an incredibly unique opportunity for the Woodland Trust. Hundreds of years ago there would have been trees across the site but now there is just a handful”. This shows the charity’s ambition to create more woodland, with them clearly eager to replant trees in the area.
Nash went on to say that “The vision is to create a vibrant mosaic of native woodland, with extensive habitat restoration … it will become a Yorkshire beacon in the bid to tackle climate change”. The estate manager has also said that by creating this environment they aim to cultivate a whole array of species, not just the red squirrel reserve. The Woodland Trust also aims to preserve the woodland and boost the quality of waterways to allow otters, crayfish and a wide variety of birds to inhabit the land.
With this being a major project for the charity, it aims to be as locally involved as possible. This means the people of Snaizeholme are able to share their comments and concerns about the restoration of Yorkshire Dales.
The Woodland Trust’s objectives for Snaizeholme
The charity’s main objective is tree planting. They believe that trees will boost the red squirrel’s habitat by improving the woodland already there. It is also meant to salvage the water quality of the river and beck, hopefully protecting the wildlife that lives in it. The Woodland Trust see this project as a “rare opportunity to create a sizeable wildlife haven for the north of England”.
This means that the idea of preservation is also very much on the charity’s mind. With 250 acres of this land containing upland peat bog and carbon sinks, the Woodland Trust will be aiming to restore said land. Furthermore, maintaining the stone walls of Yorkshire Dales is said to be on the charity’s agenda as it maintains the area’s traditional look. With this level of maintenance going on in the reserve, the charity also aims to rid the site of all plastic tree protection. With the Woodland Trust vowing to cease the use of plastic tree protection from 2021, it means that their nature reserve will contain no hazards for any of the wildlife.
The Woodland Trust’s final aim for Snaizeholme is to slow the flow of its 21 streams. With the large number of streams running down to Snaizeholme Beck the rush of water in heavy rain could endanger animals. They aim to slow the streams through peatland restoration and by sorting out the issues with leaky water dams.
With the charity’s main aim being to restore and protect ancient woodland, its business at Snaizeholme certainly upholds that agenda.
What you can do to help
The Woodland Trust is currently encouraging people to plant trees at school, home or events. They have dubbed this their ‘Big Climate Fightback’ and urge people to share their experience on social media with the hashtag of the same name. It’s hoped this challenge will inspire people to think about the environment while also fighting climate change and giving habitats to new wildlife.
With the charity still needing £7m to complete their work any help given goes a long way. You can donate to the restoration of Snaizeholme here.
There is a Woodland Trust event, signs of spring guided walk at Nidd Gorge in North Yorkshire on the 14 April that is free to attend.