Graham Morgan, Small Woods Woodland Management Advisory Officer writes:
On Saturday 23 November 2019, The Small Woods Association, along with project partners and a keen and hardy herd of volunteers, planted trees in the grounds of Skiddaw House in Cumbria; the highest hostel in Britain and completely off grid. The event is the first such tree planting in the UK for project partner Oboz Footwear as part of its global tree planting initiative. It was also a great opportunity to highlight the challenges and opportunities for upland catchment management which includes flood prevention, adaptation and mitigation for the climate emergency (capturing carbon), farming, and a landscape of high amenity value used for recreation.
We braved blustery winds, driving rain and a freezing windchill to walk up the fellside to Skiddaw House, situated 500m above sea level. Neville from Cumbria Woodlands selected a great location for the event, and provided an informative and comprehensive demonstration of tree planting, including the technique of ‘screefing’ using a spade to remove the top surface of the ground. We planted approximately 50 alder, rowan and birch trees ideally situated for the upland conditions. We also spent time tending to existing tree saplings at the site. In time, the trees will provide much needed protection for the hostel from the elements, aswell as provide increased habitat diversity for wildlife, and carbon capture. Sites like these make a significant difference that outweighs their modest size.
The hostel managers Suzy and Martin provided essential and top class hospitality within Skiddaw House itself, with a warm welcome, hot tea and coffee and sumptuous cakes.
Thanks are due to colleagues from Sprayway who hosted a stall at SR Cunninghams in Ambleside all day too, spreading news of the event. Thanks are also due to Outdoor Instructor John Brooks and his colleague Alex for providing the mountain safety cover for the group.
The cloud eventually lifted on the return walk, and we were rewarded for our efforts with an inspiring view down the Glenderaterra valley of the colourful autumnal landscape. It was a grand day out in the fells, and we look forward to returning to continue the story.
Don’t worry if you missed out on this event, more Oboz tree planting events will be taking place in the spring time. Visit obozfootwear.com to find out how you can get involved.
For Small Woods events and courses visit: www.smallwoods.org.uk