Army deal backs woodland work

Warcop tree planting kicks-off partnership that will benefit troop training and meet trust targets.

Woodland training sites help soldiers prepare for battle zones - image: Woodland Trust
Woodland training sites help soldiers prepare for battle zones - image: Woodland Trust

Tree suppliers are set to benefit from thousands of hectares of woodland being planted to help soldiers train for war zones.

Defence Estates has joined forces with the Woodland Trust because the military wants better training grounds while the trust aims to double the UK's woodland cover.

The agreement, described by the trust as groundbreaking, is for a first phase of 176,000 trees, planted over 160ha at the Warcop training ground in Cumbria.

Around £100,000 has been set aside for the site, which should be completed next year. Other army training areas in the UK and suppliers are to be lined up in a few weeks.

Partnership manager Helen Chesshire said the first 30ha had been planted by James Norman & Sons Contracts and the tender process for the rest would be finalised in about six weeks.

"Other sites are likely to include places such as Salisbury Plain, Catterick and parts of Scotland and Wales," she said. "This has the potential to have a wide geographic reach."

David Olney, deputy chief executive of Defence Estates, explained: "Training at Warcop and at other sites is vital in preparing troops for operational deployment."

He added: "Trees planted will also help the Woodland Trust hit its target of creating thousands of hectares of new woodland each year and double woodland cover in the UK by 2050."

Stuart Dainton, head of partnerships at the trust, said: "This is a great example of working together. We have different motivations but both benefit from the tree planting."

Tam Campbell, a retired major and chairman of Warcop Conservation Group, said: "Conservation is vital to us so we can run a large estate and retain its natural beauty. We have a vast number of volunteers, who aim to strike a balance between providing training facilities and taking care of this beautiful landscape."

Money for the project came from North Pennines AONB Partnership, a strategic alliance of 22 public, statutory and voluntary sector bodies with an interest in the future of the region. Co-funders included Waitrose and holiday firm Eurocamp.


The total number of trees being planted at the Warcop training ground in Cumbria - 176,000

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