Council staff plant 1,000 trees in Yorkshire Dales

One thousand sapling trees have been planted in the Yorkshire Dales with the help of a band of volunteers from Richmondshire District Council.

Armed with spades and wellies the ten members of staff took part in a Sustainable Swaledale initiative which has already planted 10,000 trees in 20 locations over the last two years.

They went to Healaugh in the national park to work with Swaledale group leaders Rob Macdonald and David Gathercole to help plant a mixed hedgerow of native plants including blackthorn (sloe), crab apple and holly on a sloping hill.

“This was a challenging but enjoyable day, and it was great to be out in the community,” said climate change officer, Ollie Braithwaite.

“We have been involved in lots of tree planting projects through the council’s communitree scheme which has offered grants to local groups, but this is the first time we have gone out there and helped plant them too!”

The council’s Communitree scheme has seen 350 trees planted by five groups across the district – Richmond Town Council; and Newton-le-Willows, Hornby, Scorton, and Finghall and Constable Burton parishes.


  1. I worked up and down the swaledale area for over thirty years and I think one of the things that makes Swaledale so very special is the miles and miles of dry stone wales.

    When I saw this photo I couldn’t understand why they would plant a hedgerow in front of what looks like a perfectly good dry stone wall. Not only will it hide the wall but if the people who panted it don’t come back and cut the hedges each year they will grow up into large tree’s which the roots will then grow underneath the wall and a strong wind blowing the trees will rock the wall and down it comes.

    Trees need to be planted where they will not in years to come change this lovely dale forever.

    • Hedgerows were a traditional feature in Swaledale long before stone walls were built. Both have an important place in the heritage and future of the dale.

      The hedge you’re referring to will help address the loss of birdsong and insect and wildlife variety that has already changed the dale over recent decades and will contribute to restoring some of that traditional richness.

      The wall will still be visible from one side so it won’t be hidden – and then people can choose which aspect they like, or enjoy the variety.

      I agree about the need to manage it – it would be great to see traditional hedge laying re-introduced in the Dales. But it will take more than a few extra trees or hedges to change Swaledale.

      • Has anything been put in place to maintain this hedgerow every year.

        If it has then it will not need to be relayed as cutting it back each year makes it grow thicker which is good for the birds etc and makes it keep sheep etc in the fields.

        It is only hedgerows that are neglected for years and let grow into tall trees which need to be relayed.

        It’s easy to plan trees all over the place but no one seems to be caring about the hard work maintaining them at a later date.

        I planted hundreds of trees back in the 1960s and have seen some woodlands that over the years have been look after but many that have not. It needs forward planning and thinking what they will look like when they grow tall in years to come when we’re not here. If woodlands are in the correct place and are looked after over the years that’s fine but not just left to go wiled.

        • You’re quite right about the need for a management plan – there is one. The intention is for this hedge to be properly laid – I’d say this creates a thicker hedge – more stock-proof and better for birds etc – but it is important that it is maintained as a hedge, laid or not – possibly with a few standards.

          Good to hear about your experience from the ’60s and your lesson is well heeded. If we’re going to be able to keep feeding ourselves we’ll need more trees and they’ll need looking after.

  2. Well with the maintenance plan.

    Only time will tell.

    A well maintained hedgerow is a really nice thing to see but most farmers today cut hedges sat on a tractor seat not like the way my late father used to cut all the hedges on the farm by hand each year which kept the in good condition but today this would be to expensive so the hedges don’t get the same attention.

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