MORE than 12,000 trees across two sites in the Yorkshire Dales are being planted by the National Trust this Spring as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change and boost biodiversity.

The Trust – in partnership with the White Rose Forest – will be planting native species mixes of broadleaved trees, shrubs, and orchard trees across 24 hectares at Cow Close, near Buckden, and Low Greenfield, near Yockenthwaite. At Low Greenfield, the works will also see the creation of a new circular walking route on previously inaccessible land.

Creating new treescapes across the Yorkshire Dales is an important element of the recently-announced ‘Heart of the Dales’ Landscape Recovery project, and will also contribute to the Trust’s national target of planting 20 million trees by 2030.

The work at Cow Close and Yockenthwaite has been supported by the White Rose Forest, the community forest for North and West Yorkshire. The woodland creation, as well as public access, fencing and maintenance has been funded through the White Rose Forest’s Trees for Climate programme, part of the Government’s Nature for Climate Fund.

A wide range of partners were involved in the planning and approval process for these projects, including the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, RSPB, Natural England, and the Forestry Commission. Contractors have been appointed to deliver fencing and planting, and will support future maintenance of the sites alongside the Trust’s local Rangers.

A number of community planting days will be held at both sites, enabling individuals and groups from Wharfedale and further afield to help plant trees and find out more about National Trust’s conservation work.

Alicia Turner, the National Trust’s Woodlands Project Officer for the Yorkshire Dales, said: “The Yorkshire Dales is one of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world, yet it has just four percent tree coverage compared to the UK average of nine per cent.

“Our work to increase tree cover will be complimentary to the existing highly varied landscapes of the Dales and the many diverse land uses.

“The work will also provide a huge boost for local biodiversity, improving the quality and distribution of habitats for woodland and woodland edge birds, invertebrates, and mammals – with the planting design aimed at attracting species such as red squirrel and black grouse. We’re particularly keen to hear from local groups or individuals interested in getting involved in our community planting days.”

Niki Child, Project Officer at the White Rose Forest, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the National Trust in the Yorkshire Dales to support and fund woodland creation at Cow Close and Yockenthwaite, as part of a wider landscape-scale nature recovery project. The trees planted at these sites will help improve natural flood management, water quality and biodiversity, amongst many other benefits.

“The Dales is a very special place and thanks to the flexibility of our Trees for Climate funding we’ve been able to create planting schemes that work with the features and sensitivities of these sites. These projects are only the start, and we look forward to helping progress many more of the National Trust’s woodland projects in the Dales over the coming years.”

The National Trust’s approach to creating treescapes goes far beyond planting one kind of species. Instead, the work focusses on creating diverse mixtures of high density woodland, scrubby montane habitat, gill planting, wood pasture, riparian buffer strips, and hedgerows.

This significant work offers a glimpse into what the Trust’s recently-announced Landscape Recovery project – Heart of the Dales – could look like in years to come. The DEFRA-funded project involves working with a number of tenant farmers across the Yorkshire Dales and is currently in the early stages of development. Other areas of focus include peatland restoration and potential species reintroduction, alongside ways of making farming more financially and environmentally sustainable.

To find out more about upcoming and future community tree-planting days or the wider work of the National Trust in the Yorkshire Dales, email