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Community comes together to plant trees in South Downs National Park

Jan Knowlson, Ranger for the Eastern Downs, gives her account of a tree planting day in East Sussex.

Myself and volunteers from Seven Sisters were out in Newhaven helping the Friends of Riverside Park plant trees. The day was organised and supported by East Sussex CC Newhaven Town Council, Burley’s Landscape Contractors, Greenhavens Network, Lewes District Council and the SDNPA. They plan to improve habitat for pollinators, by managing scrub, creating ponds and tree planting. The site is approximately 28ha and has a mix of open grassland, and scrub – mainly Elder and Blackthorn, so the idea is to keep a mix of habitat but also add in more variety of tree species to provide nectar sources at different times of year.

To mark the beginning of National Tree Week, they had obtained over 400 trees from the Woodland Trust, plus some from local tree wardens and other groups.

We agreed to help by supporting the public in planting trees. It was an open event so we had no idea how many people would come along, but the weather forecast was dry, so that would help.

We started planting at 10am and by 11.30am we had run out of trees, so many people came along! More trees arrived about midday, so we planted another 300 or so in the afternoon.

All the trees were native species, which flower and provide nuts or berries for wildlife. Species included, Rowan, Dog Rose, Goat Willow, Rowan and Hazel.

It was really inspiring to see so many people come out to plant trees and it was a great example of community working. People of all ages coming together for a good cause!