Council celebrates successful expansion of community woodland with 24,000 new trees

Tree planting at Yeo Valley Woodland

In an effort to enhance community green spaces, North Devon Council has proudly announced the successful completion of a significant woodland expansion project. The initiative, revealed in early 2022, involved planting 24,000 new trees, seamlessly connecting three existing woodlands together at Yeo Valley Woodland in Barnstaple. This endeavour was made possible through the Forestry Commission's England Woodland Creation Offer.

Over the past couple of years, 920 enthusiastic school children, and 300 dedicated community members actively participated in the tree planting process. Parks staff and contractors contributed to the effort, ensuring the successful realisation of this ambitious expansion.

The community woodland has now grown by an impressive 15.5 hectares (37 acres), providing an expanded haven for residents, visitors and wildlife. Not only does this project add to the aesthetic appeal of the area, but it also plays a crucial role in environmental sustainability.

The newly planted trees are expected to lift a substantial 3,500 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere over the next 100 years, contributing significantly to the council's commitment to combat climate change. The diverse array of tree species, including Douglas Fir, Spindle, Oak, Small-Leaved Lime, Hornbeam, and Wild Service Tree, further enriches the ecological diversity of the expanded woodland.

Lead Member for Climate and Biodiversity, Cllr Ricky Knight says: “Witnessing the successful expansion of Yeo Valley Community Woodland through the planting of 24,000 trees is truly heartening. This collaborative effort reflects our commitment to environmental stewardship, community engagement, and creating a lasting legacy for generations to come. The expanded woodland stands as a testament to the power of collective action, bringing us closer to a greener, more sustainable future for North Devon.”

The council expresses its gratitude to everyone involved in this project, recognising the collective effort that has transformed the flourishing community woodland into reality.