′Tree′ for all!

26.01.2011

School children have been helping to reshape local woodland.

Twelve pupils from Wearhead Primary School in Weardale, County Durham have been getting their hands dirty with a spot of tree planting at Northumbrian Water’s Burnhope Reservoir.

Mark Morris, conservation advisor at Northumbrian Water, said: “The conifers planted as a crop in the 1950’s are reaching maturity so it was time to fell and harvest them.

“In their place we have begun gradually replanting with native trees and thought it would be a great idea to involve the local community. Who better to restructure the local woodland than our community’s children who will have the chance to watch the trees develop and grow as they do?”

The children, aged five to eleven, each dug deep to help plant trees such as Rowan, Hawthorne, Downy Birch, Ash, Oak and Hazel. They also had the chance to study current felling activities and get up close and personal with a working forwarder and harvester on site.

Daniel Dunn (age 7) said: “The monster machines they use to cut down and the carry the trees are huge! We’ve had lots of fun and learned that trees can help make important conservation areas for wildlife.”

Each pupil was also given their own mini Silver Birch tree to take and grow at home themselves and the school finished the day with a tour of Northumbrian Water’s drinking water treatment works.

In the 1930’s Peter Lee (the man whose name was given to the north east town, Peterlee,) was instrumental in the construction of Burnhope Reservoir in his crusade to provide safe drinking water for Weardale and Wearside. The award winning drinking water treatment works there was officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal in November 2005.

For more information contact Philippa Clark, communications advisor, on 0191 301 5538,
07970 897 756 or philippa.clark@nwl.co.uk.

Picture shows: Daniel Dunn (7) from Wearhead Primary School and Mark Morris, conservation advisor at Northumbrian Water.

Notes to editors:

Northumbrian Water invested £34million constructing the water treatment works at Burnhope Reservoir in the heart of the Durham Dales – a designated North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The company recognised the intrinsic qualities of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the project team set out to ensure that this landscape of national significance was not harmed by the implementation of the scheme.

In addition, Northumbrian Water sought to make a positive contribution to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, complementing its recreational and ecological initiatives and assets in the area.

The Wear Valley WTW has been designed to minimise its impact on, and to blend into, the landscape. Over two-thirds of the facility is below ground and one-third is buried into the adjacent hillside significantly reducing the visible footprint. The remaining elements above ground have been designed in a style to reflect the massing of a farmstead and small settlements typical of Upper Weardale.

The project gives great importance to landscape design and habitat creation. The planting incorporated into the landscape design scheme has been chosen to encourage a wide range of wildlife, including nesting and foraging birds.

More than 62 hectares of conifer plantations will eventually be clearfelled and replanted with native woodland.

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