Pupils at Cranbrook's St Martin's Primary School plant a 'great tree' for the Great Trees in the Clyst Valley project.

Cranbrook’s St Martin’s Primary School pupils have planted a Monterey Pine at the school to mark the start of their involvement in the Great Trees in the Clyst Valley project.

A gift from Clyst Honiton (site of the old school), the Pine was planted by students and East Devon District Council's environment portfolio holder, Cllr Tom Wright, who said:

It’s very important to get young people involved in projects like this to teach them about the vital role trees play in our environment.

Later this year, school children will be able to gather, plant and nurture seeds from local trees, and in a further two years plant out those saplings to create a really great woodland heritage around Cranbrook for themselves and their children.

The Great Trees project aims to increase the number of trees in the new town of Cranbrook and the surrounding parishes of the Clyst Valley. The goal is to plant a new orchard, a new wood, restore 10 ha of parkland and protect 1,000 hedgerow saplings so that they become the big old trees of the future.

Tania Beard, Headteacher of St Martins C of E Primary School said:

In time, we hope the pine will grow to replace the beautiful tree which towers over our forest school area, where Ravens nested in the Summer.

As our climate is predicted to be hotter and drier in summer, we decided to put the tree in the corner of the sports field because parents have raised the fact that there is little natural shade on the school site and this means there will eventually be more shade when the children are playing on the field in the summer months.

Local people can get involved in the Great Trees project by coming along to the next event on 14th March, which is an exploration of Lost Killerton and its Treescape. Other activities include an ancient tree survey, orchard survey, and more discovery walks. Anyone interested should email jon.freeman@eastdevon.gov.uk.