Call for land in Keynsham to create new woodlands

Dave Wood

A charity which is buying land in the Bristol-Avon catchment area to reforest and rewild is appealing for help to create new woodlands in the Keynsham area.

Bristol-based Avon Needs Trees (ANT), which started in 2019, wants to involve the community in finding and planting the site.

Up to 500 local volunteers get involved with planting each new woodland with the aim to tackle the climate emergency and boost local biodiversity.

ANT’s director and North East Somerset resident Dave Wood said: “Following two incredibly successful projects in Wiltshire planting 22,000 trees, we are excited to be working in Keynsham and look forward to working with the community to create new woodlands.

“We are in a climate and ecological emergency so we need to work quickly to increase the woodland cover in the area. However, it is really important to us that the new woodlands benefit the local community and that we work together with the local agriculture and landscape in mind, planting the right tree in the right place. If you are a landowner and interested in working with us or hearing more  about what we do, please get in touch.”

Farmer and ANT volunteer Tara Castle said: “I initially got involved with ANT when they purchased their first site, which neighbours my farm. As a landowner and wildlife enthusiast myself, I understand the importance of mitigating the biodiversity and climate emergencies we are facing in a way that works collaboratively with local communities and with agriculture.

“I would encourage landowners who are interested to get in touch. Agriculture will be adversely affected by these emergencies more than most industries. Working with ANT is a great way to make a positive contribution.”

By creating new permanent woodlands, ANT aims to lock up carbon, improve local biodiversity and provide natural flood management and publicly accessible green space. So far the charity has purchased two sites in Wiltshire, planting 22,000 native trees with the help of members of the local and surrounding communities.

ANT volunteers planting Hazeland near Calne  Credit: Tara Castle

The first was Hazeland in the Marden Valley between Chippenham and Calne, the second at Stanley Lane in Calne.

ANT says that almost all of the woodland in the Avon area has disappeared over the last few centuries, with woodland cover in the West of England at an average of only 8%, compared with 10% across England, and the minimum of 19% required across the UK to reach net zero targets.

The charity says this is disastrous for many reasons – a loss of natural carbon storage; reduced habitat for many key, endangered species; and fewer trees and shrubs to stop and slow water entering the river system when there is heavy rain, particularly as all of the towns and cities in the area are greatly at risk of flooding.

If you would like to get in touch with Avon Needs Trees, contact

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