Project - River Holme Connections

Mission to plant almost 5,000 trees

Almost Finished

Summary


During the tree planting season that runs from autumn 2019 to spring 2020, we are planting at least 4,770 native trees and hedges throughout the River Holme catchment.

The trees and hedges will provide food and shelter for native wildlife and play an important role in flood management. Added to these benefits, the project will capture more than 950 tonnes of carbon dioxide, a gas known to contribute to global temperature rises.

Thanks

Almost half of the native trees and hedges we’re planting – 2,100 to be exact – are funded by the Bright Green Community Trust and Holmfirth Transition Town (HoTT). Through a variety of other funding streams we’re planting a further 2,673 trees and hedges. Our amazing volunteers are helping us to plant the trees and hedges at various locations throughout the catchment. Thank you to all our supporters and volunteers for making this ambitious project a reality.

 

      

Background


Trees are vital for a healthy river system. Native trees and hedges provide food and shelter for native wildlife, helping them to thrive. They absorb water and are an important factor in creating resilience in the ecosystem to floods, droughts and pollution.

While these benefits might be fairly obvious, trees have many more roles to play in creating a healthy, vibrant river environment:

  • Overhanging branches and submerged roots are used by aquatic animals, including trout, as shelter and to hide from predators.
  • Leaves and woody material, deposited into the river by trees, are a primary source of nutrients and food for detritus shredding invertebrates, which are important food for trout and birds such as dippers.
  • By providing shade during periods of low flows and high air temperature, trees help to reduce water temperature and maintain oxygen in the water, which is vital for life.
  • Trees stabilise river banks and reduce the amount of run-off that enters the river directly during periods of heavy rain. This run-off carries sediment and potentially pollutants.
  • Fallen trees can trap sediment, create scour pools and clean gravels.

Capturing carbon dioxide

We know that during the growing phase trees ‘capture’ carbon dioxide, removing this greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. It’s one of the reasons that trees are such an important element in the fight against climate change.

One native tree captures around 0.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide as it grows to maturity. By planting 4,773 native trees and hedges, we’ll capture more than 950 tonnes of carbon dioxide, that’s approximately the amount of carbon dioxide produced when heating around 350 homes for a year.

An ambitious project

Thanks to significant funding from the Bright Green Community Trust and Holmfirth Transition Town (HoTT), and generous support from various other funding partners, including TCV (The Conservation Volunteers), OVO Energyincluding we have 4,773 native trees and hedges to plant during winter 2019 and spring 2020.

We received a terrific response to our call for suitable land, within our catchment, on which we could plant these trees and hedges.

An army of volunteers

In December 2019, we were joined by enthusiastic volunteers including many new faces, as we kicked off our Big Tree Planting Week. We created a new corridor of hedges at Longley Farm, Holmfirth, which is great news for wildlife and especially hedgehogs!

At Black Sike Lane and Brow Lane, Holmfirth, we planted hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn, field maple, buckthorn and alder buckthorn. Meltham Pleasure Grounds and Moor Top Farm in Meltham were next on the list.

In January 2020, our tree planting continued in earnest as a team of 19 helpers from CLEAR (Community Links Engagement and Recovery Service) helped us to plant a native hedge in Meltham. The next day work continued during our first Third Saturday Work Party of 2020, resulting in  175 metres of new hedgerow (a total of 950 hedge plants) created in just two days. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you work together.

Thank you to all our volunteers who made this project possible.