The Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Unit has released a guide to help landowners that would like to combat climate change and help nature recover by planting trees. This guide, in the form of a flowchart, helps people choose the right tree for the right place to benefit wildlife and the special qualities of the Mendip Hills AONB.
Woodland cover across the Mendip Hills AONB is 12% (2376 hectares).
The AONB Partnership would like to increase this to 13.5% (2664 hectares) to help the national drive for planting more trees in order to help address climate change and help nature recover.
Tree planting is one important tool in fighting climate change and can be
beneficial for wildlife but it’s essential this is done in the right way otherwise
it can actually be harmful. The Mendip Hills are extremely important for
a whole range of habitats including grassland, heathland, wetland, caves and woodlands. The combination of these habitats that are home to many rare species, from wildflowers and butterflies, to adders and bats is important.
The special qualities of the landscape also need to be protected, this is why it was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1972. The open, windswept plateau with drystone walls cutting across the landscape is important to protect and the hot, south facing slopes with views across the Somerset Levels are very special places to be.
Generally the best place for new trees is along the north facing slopes where there are already woodlands that can be connected and the grassland is not as wildlife rich as the south facing slopes.
Jim Hardcastle, Mendip Hills AONB Manager said, ‘This guide is to help landowners, no matter how big or small their land, to get the right tree in the right place that will help nature recover and keep the special character of the area that people treasure. We’ve designed it as a flowchart so you can see other options that may be more suitable for helping wildlife on the land you own. By using the process and links in the guide here you’ll be able to help wildlife and protect the character of this nationally designated and protected landscape.’
The guide is available to download at: https://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/2020/06/29/new-tree-planting-guide-for-the-mendip-hills-aonb/