More than 700 trees have been planted on the banks of the River Ehen in Egremont by West Cumbria Rivers Trust with help from local primary school students.
A team of staff and volunteers from the Keswick-based charity were joined by members of Egremont Anglers and 24 pupils from St. Bridget’s Catholic Primary School for a tree-planting day. The event was the final step in a major project that has seen the weir at the former Ennderdale Mill site removed and river banks restored. As well as providing valuable habitats for wildlife and increasing biodiversity, trees reduce riverbank erosion as their roots help hold the ground together.
Cathy Gruba, Learning and Engagement Officer at West Cumbria Rivers Trust, said: “The children were brilliant and absolutely loved their day by the river. They got stuck in and didn’t want to stop all day! The site is near where they live so they can walk down there and show their families what they’ve done, then watch the trees grow and see the impact they’ve had on the natural environment.”
A mixture of tree species were planted, including oak, hazel, crab-apple and alder. As well as the 700 trees, 300 willow stakes which were generously provided by Wild Ennerdale volunteers will also help to stabilise the river bank.
Luke Bryant, Assistant Director at West Cumbria Rivers Trust, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of our volunteers and the staff and students at St. Bridget’s School for their help with this project. The new trees are very young so quite hard to spot at the moment. With Spring coming, they’re just about to form their leaves, so please take care if you’re walking in the area. In the years to come we’ll see a fantastic wildlife corridor develop along this stretch of river.”
The trees were funded by Cumbria Woodlands and the United Utilities West Cumbria Water Supplies Tree Planting Fund, while the fencing to protect them was funded by the Fisheries Improvement Programme, which is administered by the Environment Agency and receives money from fishing rod licence fees.