As our business grows and evolves we are continually reviewing ways to make our Glamping venture more sustainable. We had been toying with the idea of planting some trees for a long time now and finally got in to a position where we where able to do it.
In addition to a number of other measures that we have in place to off-set our own and our guests carbon foot print (see sustainability) we are now planting one tree per booking that we take through the website, as well as giving our guests the option to purchase their own tree/s.
We have chosen to plant trees not because it seems to be the trendy thing to do right now, but because of the benefits trees will bestow on our particular site and the huge advantages their addition will give to the local wildlife.
So last month, Jon, Myself, our farm worker Nick and a very cute assistant got planting!
In total we are planting just over 100 trees around the car park and Shepherds huts. We have carefully selected the appropriate species of trees for the site; which can be wet and exposed during the winter (especially if there are more wet winters like this on their way!) and also considered the trees benefit to the local wildlife. it is hoped that over time the trees will help dry up the ground and provide some shelter and sustenance for the wildlife. Additionally the trees are being planted in a way that will eventually give an extra layer of privacy and shelter to the guests staying with us in the Shepherds Huts.
So with this in mind, here some details of the chosen ones!!!
Goat Willow – This tree does well in damp soil and is often found near rivers and ponds. It supports lots of wildlife, including the elusive and regal purple emperor butterfly for which is is the main plant food. Catkins provide an important early source of pollen and nectar for bees and other insects, and birds use goat willow to forage for caterpillars and insects
Hazel – Hazel has lots of wildlife benefits and in general can be grown in most places. The leaves provide food for the caterpillars of moths and the flowers can provide early pollen food for bees. Hazel has long been associated with the dormouse (also known as the hazel dormouse) and hazelnuts are also eaten by woodpeckers, nuthatches, tits, wood pigeons, jays and small mammals. The trunks are often covered in mosses, liverworts and lichens, and the fiery milkcap fungus grows in the soil beneath.
Alder – I chose this species because its a water-lover, in fact its wood doesn’t rot when waterlogged, but instead turns stronger and harder which is perfect for our site which can get very wet. As with the other species the Alder provides food for the caterpillars of several moths including the alder kitten, pebble hook-tip, the autumnal and the blue-bordered carpet moth. With the catkins providing an early source of nectar and pollen for bees, and the seeds are eaten by numerous species of birds.
Hawthorn – Common hawthorn can support more than 300 insects and can be grown pretty much anywhere. Its flowers are eaten by dormice and provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects and it is the plant food for numerous caterpillar species. The haws are rich in antioxidants and are eaten by migrating birds, with the dense foliage great for nesting shelter.
Crab Apple – The fruit of the crab apple is eaten by birds, including blackbirds, thrushes and crows and mammals, such as mice, voles, foxes and badgers. The leaves are food for the caterpillars and the flowers provide an important source of early pollen and nectar for insects, particularly bees.
Holly – This evergreen shrub provides shelter and nesting opportunities for birds and gives hedgehogs and other small mammals a cosy place to hibernate. The flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects. The leaves are eaten by caterpillars of butterflies and moths and the berries are a vital winter food source for birds and small mammals.
Common Osier – I picked this willow species especially as does really well in damper soils. Plus not only is it a source of food and shelter for native wildlife, but it actually enriches the soils it is planted on. Caterpillars of a number of moth species feed on the foliage and the catkins provide an important source of early nectar and pollen for bees and other insects.
(Species information sourced from The Woodland Trust)
Our trees have been protected by tree shelters and stakes. Yes the plastic makes me want to weep but we have so many rabbits, hare and deer that roam the fields that planting them with out this level of protection would have been the fastest route to failure. On the plus side these tubes provide the perfect environment to get our little saplings off to the best start by acting like their own private greenhouse.
Our lovely trees have been purchased from The Woodland Trust who sell anything from single trees up to packs of 1000s and also offer a dedication service. So they are well worth a look if our tree planting has inspired you to do a bit of your own planting!