Volunteers from the Manchester Quakers group have joined us for tree planting every year since the very beginning of Treesponsibility. This year being no exception, they arrived on a bright and sunny Sunday in March this year to help with our planting site at Lodge Farm, up on a steep hillside approximately halfway between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.
Mike Potter from Pickering Civic Society, Nick Odini, a scientist from Durham University and Local landscape engineer Stuart Bradshaw joined us in March for a tour of potential “slowing the flow” sites. Here we are at Higher Strines Farm, where landowner Matt Taylor showed us the work he has been doing on his land which could be replicated elsewhere. Matt is part of the Hebden Water and Colden Water Working Group, one of four working groups set up by the SOURCE Partnership to plan slowing the flow measures in different parts of the catchment. Stuart is now part of the Flood Studies Group, and Nick Odini is modelling flow on Walshaw Moor to show the effects of heather burning on the rate of flow from the land into the water courses.
We were very pleased that Hebden Bridge Scouts were able to come tree planting at last. The previous date set for them in December brought non stop torrential rain. We didn’t want to put the young people off for life so we agreed to cancel and choose another date. In the meantime the land where they were to plant their trees and where our work team had done the preparation was withdraw by the owner from the tree planting programme. Luckily Kate at Lodge Farm got in touch right after the boxing day flood to say she could offer a substantial plot of land for tree planting. Lodge Farm is a prime site situated on the Burnt Acres hillside below Stoodley Pike and above the sewage works. The trees here will help slow the flow of run off down to the canal and sewage works.
You may have seen this when we first planted on this site in early March and were filmed for BBC Breakfast News.
This was one of the many landslips caused by the Boxing Day Flood. Tons of mature trees and earth slipped from Meadows Edge down onto a garden below. Boris who lives in the house below heard a terrible roar and watched as tons of earth slipped onto her garden. Only her stout terraces and polytunnel saved her home. She called in Treesponsibility, who arranged for SOURCE partners Black Bark Woodland Management to build facines to stabilise the slip. Facines are bundles of brash the usually bi-product of woodland management that are pinned to the hillside with wooden stakes. We came and planted trees after. You might well think that if trees were on the land that slipped anyway, how can more trees help? Well a lot of the trees were beech which are not native to this part of Britain They are shallow rooted which means their roots do not pin the soils to the substrate. They also have a dense canopy in summer which means the ground under the trees is completely shaded out so nothing grows leaving bare and vulnerable soil. To replace them we planted deep rooting oaks and tough spreading blackthorns.