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National Trust farms begin major tree planting journey

Farmers have already started planting young saplings as part of the National Trust’s commitment to establishing 20 million new trees by 2030.

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National Trust tenant farmers, Mel and Jonty Brunyee tree planting at Sherborne. Credit - James Dobson
National Trust tenant farmers, Mel and Jonty Brunyee tree planting at Sherborne. Credit - James Dobson
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National Trust farms begin major tree planting journey

The trust believed the strategy would help prevent flooding and fight climate change, but said it was essential the trees took root ‘in the right places’, after some organisations raised fears about farmland effectively being taken out of production.

 

Despite facing £200m in losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the trust has already planted 60,000 trees over recent months and has identified sites which would take another 1.5m trees over the next five years.


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Jonty Brunyee, a tenant on the 1,618-hectare Sherborne Park Estate in Gloucestershire, is working with the trust to plant 9,000 trees and shrubs across 3.2ha of land to create a more diverse habitat to benefit both nature and livestock.

 

These include a range of tree species, including oak, beech, lime, field maple, rowan, wild cherry, wild service, wild pear, crab apple, hazel, holly and hawthorn.

 

Mr Brunyee said: “Tree planting has many benefits for us as farmers. We will have additional shade, shelter and food for our livestock, plus fruit, nuts and berries for human consumption.

 

“We can coppice some areas for fuel and woodchip in the future too. Planting is one way of moving the business towards net zero, alongside reducing fossil fuel use and better soil and grassland management.”

 

Mr Brunyee said he had worked with his landlord to ensure the right trees were planted in the right places.

 

He said: “We should not plant everywhere. We have to consider archaeology, landscape impacts, current wildlife value and food production needs, but all farmers can do their bit.”

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