Saving Devon's Treescapes

by Devon Wildlife Trust in Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

We did it
On 19th January 2022 we successfully raised £21,614 ( + est. £3824.25 Gift Aid ) with 541 supporters in 27 days

Create a tree nursery to grow trees from Devon seeds, part of Saving Devon's Treescapes plan to plant & nurture 150,000+ trees outside woods

by Devon Wildlife Trust in Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

New stretch target

£18,000 will cover all the costs of developing the new community tree nursery. That means matched funds from National Lottery Heritage Fund can be spent on other areas of the project, helping  to save Devon's trees and the wildlife they support.


Saving Devon’s Treescapes is giving individuals and communities the opportunity to plant and nurture more than 150,000 broadleaf trees outside woods over the next four years.

But we need to establish a new community tree nursery where staff and volunteers can grow tens of thousands of these trees from seeds collected in Devon. We need to raise at least £12,000 to help set up the new community tree nursery – can you help with a donation or pledge today?

Tens of thousands of Devon trees coming to maturity over the years will be great news for wildlife – a single mature oak tree, for example, can support 2,300 other plant and animal species – and will take in more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to combat climate change.

As each tree grows it will also play a role in a developing story of hope in the face of disease, where a wide variety of tree species help to fill the spaces left by ash trees lost to ash dieback.

Your donation will help to develop this story of new life for the natural world. And thanks to support for this project pledged by National Lottery Heritage Fund, every £10 donated to this Crowdfunder is actually worth £23 for Devon's trees and the wildlife that depends on them. Plus, there are fantastic tree-themed rewards for pledgers too!

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(Photo: the project's existing tree nursery at Meeth Quarry)

Planting trees in response to ash dieback

Did you know that Devon has an estimated 1.9 million mature ash trees outside of woods? That’s not including the ash trees within Devon woodlands. Ash is one of the most frequent trees found in our hedges, and you are as likely to spot mature ash trees on a Dartmoor hike as you are strolling through a town or city park. Tragically, up to 90% of those trees are expected to be lost to ash dieback. But that’s where Saving Devon’s Treescapes offers hope.

Working across Devon, over the next four years this DWT-led project will be helping communities, landowners and gardeners to plant and nurture more than 150,000 native broadleaf trees. All this new green life will go some way towards replacing the trees lost to disease. In addition to planting trees, the project team will be supporting landowners and farmers to ensure existing hedgerow trees can grow to maturity.

We will be growing tens of thousands of trees, grown from seeds collected in all weathers from Devon sites by a dedicated band of volunteers. Oak, willow, hazel, hawthorn and aspen are just five of the native tree species the team is growing and then giving away for individuals and communities to plant.

So far, the project’s sole nursery for growing trees from seed has been based at DWT’s Meeth Quarry nature reserve. But with such a big target of new trees for planting, we need to establish a second tree nursery. We have already agreed a site, a community farm on the National Trust’s Killerton estate.

Now we need to raise at least £12,000 to help set up the structures of the tree nursery – from deer-proof fencing and water supply to shed and polytunnel – and to ensure staff and volunteers have the tools and equipment they need. Please help to create the new tree nursery with a donation today!

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(Photo: Dartmoor ash tree, on DWT's Emsworthy Mire nature reserve, near Haytor - photo by Robert Darch. A framed print of this image is available as a reward.)

What tree species will be grown at the new nursery?

All trees grown at the new nursery will be native broadleaf trees. Some tree species are easier to grow from seed than others but there will be a wide range of trees grown. The list includes some of our most recognisable trees, such as oak and aspen, species like hazel that are ideal for a Devon hedge, trees such as alder and willow that can thrive in wetter soils, trees like hawthorn that are happy in upland areas, wild fruit trees including crab apple and wild cherry and even a county speciality, the Devon whitebeam. 

All these tree species - and more that will be grown – are suitable for Devon’s climate and soils.

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(Photo: collecting seeds for the tree nursery)

Where will trees be planted?

The Saving Devon’s Treescapes team will be working all over the county, with at least one ‘landmark’ tree planted in every single parish. Planting trees outside woods means new hedgerow trees, trees on farmland habitats, on community green spaces, in parks and gardens. 

In the first year of the Saving Devon’s Treescapes project, with just a single member of staff leading activities, tree-planting highlights have included:

  • Five hundred trees planted near Luppitt in East Devon, on open grassland owned by Otter Brewery as part of their Pints Mean Trees initiative.
  • Planting a new hedgerow near Liverton, on the southern edge of Dartmoor, that linked up two existing hedges, creating more wildlife corridors for dormice, bats, hedgehogs, butterflies, bees and farmland birds.
  • Fifty new trees planted alongside the railway line at Cranbrook to speed up natural regeneration of woodland-edge habitats in an area with several ash trees that will likely be lost to disease.
  • Three hundred trees planted in an urban green space in Exeter, in part of the city that is without many trees. Most of the few trees nearby are ash, which are already showing signs of ash dieback, so new broadleaf trees here will help local residents’ wellbeing in addition to boosting wildlife.

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There are also five core areas where a higher level of tree-planting and nurturing of existing broadleaf trees will be taking place. These include Torbay, Exeter and Cranbrook, a large area of the South Hams from the Avon estuary east to Slapton Ley, the Coly valleys in East Devon and an area of the Blackdown Hills on the county boundary with Somerset.

The new project team will be planting thousands of trees each year over the next four years – but first we need to grow more trees with your help: please support the Saving Devon’s Treescapes crowdfunder today.

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(Photo: Exmoor ash tree, in Lorna Doone country, by Robert Darch - a framed print of this image is available as a reward.)

How can people get hold of a free tree to plant?

The project will be giving out ‘whips’, young saplings of around 1-2 years old, grown from seed, for people to plant in gardens or community green spaces. Sometimes trees will be available from the project’s community tree nurseries at Meeth Quarry and – if fundraising is successful – at Heathfield Farm.

But most free trees are given away at Tree Hubs, events held in community centres and town squares, garden centres and village car parks. There are upcoming Tree Hubs in Kingsbridge, Lydford, Exminster and Honiton – details of all Tree Hub events can be found on the Devon Wildlife Trust website.

Even Covid-19 lockdowns have not prevented our free tree giveaways. In January 2021 volunteers in Broadclyst delivered trees across the parish via wheelbarrows, then hundreds of trees were planted in gardens and other land. The tree-planting activity across the village brought the community together at a time when lockdown meant people couldn’t meet friends and neighbours in person. 

We hope Tree Hub events outdoors will still be possible this winter – but if the government announces further restrictions, we will always try to find ways to get trees to people who want them!

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Where will the new tree nursery be?

The site is called Heathfield Farm, on the National Trust’s Killerton Estate, near Broadclyst, to the north of Exeter. Formerly known as Broadclyst Community Farm, the site has been developed by Devon Link-Up, with support from the National Trust, to be used by people with learning disabilities and/or autism as they learn skills and gain confidence to be able to take a fuller role in society through volunteering or paid employment. Users will be growing food and flowers for sale, improving the land for wildlife and - if we are successful with our fundraising – the community tree nursery for Saving Devon’s Treescapes will be a vital part of that.

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(Photo: ash in the Exe Valley by Robert Darch - a framed print of this image is available as a reward)

How will the funds raised be used?

We estimate the cost of setting up the new community tree nursery from scratch will be £18,000 so we need to raise at least £12,000 from this Crowdfunder. The largest single cost will be fencing around the nursery – both deer proof fencing and protection from rabbits so that new trees are not lost before they’ve started to develop. The nursery will also require a good quality shed, the all-important polytunnel, several trestle tables and raised beds, (along with wire protection to keep rodents away from the seedlings in the raised beds). 

Water supply is obviously crucial so we will need both a water tank and pipes for borehole supply plus a large tank for harvesting rainwater. A tree nursery also requires a fridge for ‘stratifying’ the seeds – this is to simulate the wintry conditions required before a seed will start to germinate. Finally, we will need all the hand-tools and other equipment to ensure staff and volunteers can successfully grow from seed the thousands of trees we want people to be planting all over Devon.

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Tree-mendous Rewards

Exclusive tree-themed rewards for pledgers include framed ash tree prints by renowned photographer Robert Darch, woody wild walks around stunning Devon landscapes led by expert naturalists, or simply a Saving Devon’s Treescapes thank you card along with a free tree for your garden. You can also pick up a unique dormouse artwork by Devon wildlife artist David Barlow or a Haldon Forest annual pass for almost half the usual price.

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(Artwork: dormouse drawings by Devon wildlife artist David Barlow, a framed copy is available as a reward.)

Every donation is more than doubled by match funding 

Thanks to funding promised by National Lottery Heritage Fund for more than half the costs of the Saving Devon’s Treescapes project – if Devon Wildlife Trust can raise the remaining funds required – every £10 you give to this crowdfunder is really worth £23 for Devon’s trees and the wildlife they support.

Your donation or pledge can make the new community tree nursery a reality and help save Devon’s treescapes – showing that after loss from disease we can ensure new life for Devon’s landscapes, wildlife and people.

Thank you!

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

77 of 150 claimed

Treescapes thank you card and a free tree to plant

A Saving Devon's Treescapes thank you card along with your choice of a free tree to plant in your garden. Trees must be collected from a tree hub event or by arrangement at a project tree nursery. Includes tree protection and planting guide. Thank you card will be posted to you.

£500 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Framed Robert Darch ash photograph - Emsworthy

A framed print of the beautiful photograph of a Dartmoor ash tree next to the 'red barn' at DWT's Emsworthy Mire nature reserve, as illustrated on this Crowdfunder page. These images are part of Robert Darch's 'aesc' project, commissioned by Devon Wildlife Trust and Beaford Arts, as a visual record of the changes to the Devon landscape caused by ash dieback. Size of print is A2.

£500 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Framed Robert Darch ash photograph - Exe Valley

A framed print of the stunning photograph of an ash tree next to a path in the Exe Valley, as illustrated on this Crowdfunder page. These images are part of Robert Darch's 'aesc' project, commissioned by Devon Wildlife Trust and Beaford Arts, as a visual record of the changes to the Devon landscape caused by ash dieback. Size of print is A2.

£25 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Forestry England Haldon Forest Pass

One year's membership for Haldon Forest, from Saving Devon's Treescapes partner the Forestry Commission. Worth £40, your one-year pass gains you free parking at Haldon Forest for 12 months, along with 15% discount at Haldon's Go Ape attraction and other savings. (Devon Wildlife Trust will pass on your name and contact details to Forestry England to set up your free pass.)

£50 or more

6 of 6 claimed

Growing trees from seed workshop

A place on a small-group workshop to demonstrate how to successfully grow trees from seed - to be held at the new tree nursery at Heathfield Farm, Broadclyst in Autumn 2022

£50 or more

6 of 6 claimed

NEW Growing Trees from Seed Workshop

As first six places are all claimed we are able to run a second workshop. A place on a small-group workshop to demonstrate how to successfully grow trees from seed - to be held at the new tree nursery at Heathfield Farm, Broadclyst in Autumn 2022

£100 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Exclusive dormouse artwork

These charming drawings celebrating one of the most loved species of Devon hedges and woods have been donated to DWT by Devon wildlife artist David Barlow. Only one available, framed in a cream mount with protective cover, the framed artwork measures 15 inches by 12 inches.

£150 or more

6 of 6 claimed

Treescapes guided walk - East Devon

A guided walk in early summer 2022 led by Saving Devon's Treescapes Advisory Officer Jon Freeman. Held at the National Trust's Ashclyst Forest on the Killerton Estate, the approx 2 hour circular walk will cover the wildlife, trees and landscape history of this beautiful woodland. Each pledge includes two places on a walk.

£250 or more

6 of 6 claimed

Treescapes guided walk - Dartmoor

A guided walk in June 2022 led by DWT Director of Nature Recovery, Pete Burgess. Held at DWT's Emsworthy Mire nature reserve near Haytor, the approx 2 hour circular walk will cover this stunning wildlife site, with a particular focus on the trees outside woods of this Dartmoor landscape, including mature ash trees so far unaffected by ash dieback. Each pledge includes two places on a walk.

£500 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Framed Robert Darch ash photograph - Exmoor

A framed print of the stunning photograph of an Exmoor ash tree in Lorna Doone country, as illustrated on this Crowdfunder page. These images are part of Robert Darch's 'aesc' project, commissioned by Devon Wildlife Trust and Beaford Arts, as a visual record of the changes to the Devon landscape caused by ash dieback. Size of print is A2.

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