A four-year tree planting drive to create a greener, healthier Warrington has been launched. Local residents and members of Grappenhall and Thelwall Parish Council dug in at a rain-drenched planting morning at the recently revamped Euclid Park to kick off Warrington's part in The Big Tree Plant, the national campaign to get more people planting and caring for trees.
Locally the campaign has set aside £255,000 over the next four years to support tree planting and get people involved in their environment across North Cheshire and Merseyside. The funding for the local area was secured by The Mersey Forest who will use the cash to help community groups and schools to brighten their neighbourhoods with new street trees, woodlands and mini-orchards – starting with hundreds of trees to be planted across Warrington this winter.
Warrington South MP David Mowat took part in the tree planting and said: "The benefits of creating a well-wooded landscape are there for all to see – from providing places to relax and stay fit and healthy, to providing habitat for wildlife, to helping fight climate change. It's excellent to see this new campaign continuing the greening of Warrington's landscape that's already been achieved as part of The Mersey Forest."
He was joined by the Mayor of Warrington, Cllr Mike Biggin, who is Warrington's member for The Mersey Forest and has been involved in the Euclid Park project from the start. He said: "Across the country The Big Tree Plant is aiming to help people plant 1 million trees by 2015. It's great to be part of launching Warrington's contribution, and what better place to do so than at Euclid Park, one of the town's most recent green success stories."
The trees planted at Euclid Park – which were co-funded by The Woodland Trust through their MOREwoods project – will add to spring's revamp of the park, and included fruit trees such as a special variety of sweet chestnuts which will produce nuts for the community to harvest.
Thanks to funding secured by The Mersey Forest and Grappenhall and Thelwall Parish Council from the Play Pathfinder Programme, the previously drab and uninteresting park has been brought to life this year with a 'natural play' area of logs for children to clamber upon, new buggy and bicycle-friendly paths, new trees, more colourful shrubs, new seating and a community orchard.
Big Tree Plant complements the work of ForeStClim – an EU-funded environmental project that looks at forests and climate change across North West Europe. The majority of Big Tree Plant planting schemes focus on urban areas of high deprivation, which are lacking in green space and are therefore most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.