Children help Holker plant 37,000 trees


Dozens of children from across the Cartmel peninsula are helping a local landowner complete the planting of thousands of trees destroyed by storm Arwen.
In November 2021 Arwen’s 110 mph winds swept through Scotland, Northumberland and Cumbria, destroying 90 per cent of the woodland known as Lane Park on the Holker Estate.
Holker Estate embarked on the massive task of planting 37,000 trees in Lane Park and at Barns Bank, near Cartmel village, in January 2023.
As they near completion, 70 pupils from Flookburgh Church of England Primary School, First Grange and Cartmel Scouts, Cartmel Priory and Cartmel Primary schools, were invited to help out last week (March 27 – 31).
The Holker Group’s Environment and Sustainability Manager, Sam Hagon, said: “It is important that the children get involved. The storm had a huge impact on the local area and they will have been wondering what happened.
“Getting involved in the tree planting helps them learn about the environment and develop team-work skills.
“Hopefully, they will come back in future to see the results and one day be able to show their own children what they have done.”
First of the spade and welly brigade were a dozen pupils from Flookburgh.
They were joined at Lane Park by Head Teacher Gill Pett, who was also keen on the legacy. “It is important that the children, who are all from this area, learn that they can give back to the community.
“It fits very well with our work on reflection and gives them a cathartic reaction to all that has happened over the last few years, showing them there is hope for the future, both for this generation and for generations to come.”
Certainly the children were enjoying their day out in the sunshine.
They were welcomed by Sam Thompson, Holker Estate’s Forestry and Deer Manager, who explained that 90 per cent of the woodland at Lane Park was destroyed in one swoop, lasting 12 hours.
The felled trees had not been wasted with some going to local sawmills for construction, some going to biomass to make energy and some used to make firewood to help keep people warm.
At Lane Park 16,000 trees had already been planted – a mixture of Douglas Fir, the tallest trees in the UK and Sitka Spruce, a bit like Christmas trees. The pupils were planting a copse of broadleaf Oak trees.
The coniferous trees are harvested every 60 or 70 years for their wood, but the broadleaf trees would last hundreds of years and were for the birds, wildlife and nature, Mr Thompson told them.
After he had given the pupils a tutorial about how to plant the saplings, the children dug in.
Eleanor Tegg, aged 10, said: “it is the first time I have planted a tree and it is fun. We are doing it to get more forests.”
Bill Joe Coward-McSkimmings, aged 10, said: “it is a bit different to what I would normally be doing at school on a Monday morning – spelling. It is quite fun. We can find out just how important it is to have trees.”
Ava Potter, also ten, said: “It is a good idea for the environment and getting more oxygen into the atmosphere.
“I have never planted a tree before. It is quite difficult, but definitely worth it.”
Holker Estate Operations Director, Morgan Robinson, was also on site. He said: “”With all these children being local, hopefully they will come back to see the trees as they grow.”