Saturday 21st November 2020 saw volunteers from the local community and further afield descend on a farm near Winford, Chew Valley, for a socially-distanced tree planting event.
Tree planting marked the final delivery phase for this particular scheme which included the installation of a number of nature-based solutions within the headwaters of a Winford Brook tributary. The scheme in its entirety, was delivered by BART throughout this year, working in partnership with contractors, landowners, the Environment Agency, local authorities and Bristol Water. Work included the construction of wildlife ponds, attenuation features and infrastructure improvements throughout multiple locations throughout the course of the tributary. Through this project, BART has built numerous strong working relationships with landowners to implement measures that will improve floodplain connection, slow the flow of water during rainfall events, reduce sediment & nutrient inputs, sequester carbon and create new woodland habitat. The scheme will contribute towards improving the quality of water flowing into the Winford Brook.
During the tree planting event around 130 native trees were planted by a group of socially distanced volunteer group who were not afraid to get their hands dirty and learn more about the wider functioning of the scheme. Senior Project Officer George explained how tree planting fits into BART’s wider work to protect rivers and how the creation of small areas of woodland copses and wildlife ponds will provide habitat niches and habitat connectivity to support a diverse range of birds, mammals and insects. Volunteers also learnt how the ponds captured soil to prevent fine sediment from silting the river and how trees, once mature, will increase field ‘roughness’ and intercept flow pathway.
Following a planting demonstration from George, volunteers set about planting the young saplings in locations that had been marked out to ensure correct distancing (both for the tree and for the volunteers). The areas planted included the edges of the wildlife ponds and the creation of a new copse at the top of the slope which intercepts the main flow pathway. Volunteers of all ages dug pits to house their saplings, filled the holes with soil and supported them with guards and stakes to give them the best chance of establishing. The species chosen were native, water-loving tree species with a mix of wildlife benefits. Due to ground conditions becoming very wet during rainfall events, we chose species such as downy birch and alder which can handle wet soil. Other species such as guelder rose and hazel were planted to support a diverse range of species.
The 130 trees planted during the morning will provide a unique habitat of wetland and small, diverse copses which will create a mosaic of habitats that will provide a wildlife corridor to existing wooded habitat throughout the valley.
BART is continuing to develop plans with stakeholders and landowners throughout the Winford Brook and Chew Valley to benefit the rivers, stream and brooks and wildlife that they support and the people who live there.
We would like to thank Bristol Water for supporting the tree planting event and to the landowner who has supported and assisted with the delivery of the works on his land. Not forgetting, a huge thank you to each and every volunteer who made this scheme happen on the ground!
If you would like to find out more or if you are interested in volunteering please feel free to get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org