Jon Freeman, the Project Officer for Great Trees in the Clyst Valley, writes about the achievements of this fascinating and rewarding initiative
Our two-year Great Trees in the Clyst Valley project has now come to an end. It was quite an adventure! We engaged with volunteers and communities to enhance the landscape and biodiversity of the Clyst Valley through practical conservation work, and our volunteers carried out important wildlife survey and recording, contributing to national citizen science projects. Thanks to everyone who helped us, a big ‘Well done!’ to you all.
Some outstanding achievements of the project included:
- Three brand new woods, covering 1.38 hectares and featuring 2,200 trees, including 1000 English Oak, were planted through multi-generation community tree planting days
- 234 metres of new hedgerow were planted with volunteers
- A school tree nursery was developed and planted with primary school pupils in Whimple
- Two new orchards were planted with volunteers
- 4.6 hectares of historic parkland were restored with tree planting
- 325 ancient veteran and notable trees were surveyed and recorded for the Woodland Trust’s national Ancient Tree Inventory
- 15 traditional orchards were surveyed for the People’s Trust For Endangered Species
- Over the two years a total of 52 public events were run, including guided walks, practical training days, and group fieldwork sessions. Our survey reported a 100% respondent enjoyment rate from participants
- We created a strong social media presence (tweets were viewed 64,400 times in the past six months alone)
- We won the Pride of Devon Environmental Award 2019
- We provided 21 daily “Pause for thought” broadcasts for BBC Radio Devon
This project was managed by East Devon District Council and was made possible through the generous support of: The National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Trust, Woodland Trust, Devon County Council, Environment Agency Devon Gardens Trust, Parishes Together, and E.ON
Through the Great Trees in the Clyst Valley project, many positive relationships were fostered with individuals, organisations, landowners, farmers and community groups. These relationships will be crucial in moving on to develop the ambitious and exciting 25 year vision for a new Clyst Valley Regional Park. The funding for Great Trees may be over, but the work is not! The Clyst Valley Regional Park will work with the people and communities of the Clyst Valley, to enhance and restore the green space and improve biodiversity and river water quality around the new development of Cranbrook and East of Exeter.
If you are interested in learning more about the vision for the Clyst Valley Regional Park, please visit the Clyst Valley Park website or watch the film, which was produced as part of the project, which encourages people to support and get involved.