ASBY TREE GROUP FAQs
It has been set up by local residents to make a contribution to the national project to plant more trees in response to environmental and climate concerns, as well as to attempt to provide different species successor-trees to the many Ash that will soon be lost to dieback disease.
The Ash tree has a special resonance for Asby Parish because its name may well derive in part from Old Norse for the Ash tree – askr.
The tree group was established with the following aims:
- To carry out a survey of field trees to identify the age and species profile of trees.
- To promote and undertake the planting of trees, particularly of single trees and groups of trees within agricultural land, to provide long term replacement for trees being lost as a result of age, disease, and storms.
- To promote and undertake the planting of trees and hedging generally to maintain and enhance the landscape.
The tree group is not a charity registered with the Charities Commission.
We are established through our charter as a volunteer community group. This status is recognised by government and other national bodies which we deal with.
The tree group is managed by a management committee. The committee members are elected annually at the Annual General meeting. There are 3 formal positions; these are Chair of the Group, Treasurer, and Secretary. In addition, we currently have 4 other members of the committee who bring a variety of specialist skills and knowledge in farming and arboriculture.
The committee currently meets on a monthly basis and reviews and agrees projects we can work on, manages the finances including funding applications, and reviews progress of work to ensure we are successful in achieving the group’s aims.
Significant funding of over £5,000 to enable us to purchase tolls and materials has been provided by a Westmorland dales Landscape Partnership ‘love Your Landscape’ grant, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The former Eden District Council (EDC) also provided a grant of £5,000 to enable us to complete Phase 1 of an ambitious plan for the development of the site known as ‘Mask Wood’ [?link to relevant text elsewhere on website?]. We will be approaching the successor to EDC in an attempt to obtain funding for Phases 2 and 3 of the Mask Wood plan.
Asby Parish Council has provided three small grants to assist the work of the Group and to help cover the cost of essentials, such as insurance that covers members when they are actively volunteering.
As a Community Tree Group, we are able to obtain assistance from the Woodland Trust; they have been most generous in the provision of plants, stakes, canes and tree guards, as well as advice on the practicalities of our work.
Wherever possible, we will also work with local farmers to access funding through other government schemes such as ‘Farming in Protected Landscapes’, Countryside Stewardships, and the government’s emerging Environmental Land Management Scheme. Organisations awarding grants, stewardship schemes etc take into account the significant monetary value of the work undertaken by all our volunteers; over £20k by the spring of 2023.
We have expertise within the group; this includes a highly experienced farm manager who ran the Levens Gaythorne Estate for many years, a planning consultant who specialised in arboricultural matters for local authorities, an experienced landscaper who works on high end projects, and local landowners. We also have access to advice from organisations such as the Woodland Trust, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Forestry England, and other government and regional bodies. Finally, we have our own ‘Tree Stig’, not a tame racing driver, but a slightly feral, highly experienced arboriculturist.
We do not provide a stock fencing service; clearly, appropriate stock fencing is the responsibility of our local farmers and landowners. We will however assist with hedgerow projects either to provide new hedgerows or to reinstate previous hedges. We will also carry out repairs to fencing that has been erected to protect tree planting areas. An example of the former was the planting of around 120 m of hedgerow on a farm adjacent to Great Asby village; resources were provided through the Woodland Trust.
If you have some time to give, you can volunteer to help us. We have a number of roles, most obviously helping to plant trees and hedgerow and put protection into place such as fencing, tree crates and tree guards. We also need people who can help conduct simple tree surveys on land around the parish. This helps to establish what trees and hedgerow are in place, the age of trees and the general health of them; this process aids planning of what work might be required.
We have a group developing which will look at the planting of wild flowers in appropriate areas. There are also some administrative roles such as helping with fund raising, anyone with the skills and time to help administer social media would be very welcome.
The Tree Group can provide most of the equipment that is required to carry out our work. This includes surveying equipment, the tools needed to plant trees and hedgerow and tools required for building fencing and tree guards. We also have protective equipment such as safety glasses, hard hats and ear protectors. The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership has funded this in order that we can ensure the equipment being used is suitable and in good condition. It also means volunteers don’t end up losing, damaging or breaking their own tools.
The Tree Group can and has provided training. If we have sufficient numbers to warrant it, we will provide specific training events. New members can also be provided with ‘on-the-job’ training from one of our experts or from a more experienced volunteer, whichever is most appropriate. Most of us have also learnt and developed our skill through the experiences we are gaining – every day can be a school day.
No-one volunteering for the Tree Group, including the members of the management committee, receive any form of financial remuneration, either in money or kind. In specific circumstances, out-of-pocket expenses can be made, although none has been to date.
We will welcome any suggestions for where the Tree Group might be able to undertake tree or hedgerow planting within the parish or on its peripheries. The management committee will explore these opportunities, engaging with the landowner/farmer, to see how we are able to help within the resources available to us.
Winter Activities 2022/23
In the winter of 2022/23, the Tree Group:
- Made a major contribution to planting 2.5km of hedgerow on the land of Gaythorne Hall
- Planted 500 trees in the area known as ‘Mask Wood’, close to Campbell’s Garage in Great Asby
- Planted 150m of hedgerow in Little Asby.
In addition, Tree Group members planted wildflower-plugs on a small number of grass verge areas within the village of Great Asby.See more
Winter Activities 2021/22
In the winter of 2021/22, we completed planting of:
- 650m of hedgerow at High Plains farm
- 150m of hedgerow at Fieldhouse farm
- Small amounts of understorey at Maisongill (see photograph)
- Tree planting in Great Asby Village, including groups of trees protected by weldmesh guards on Chapel Green
- 'Salvaged’ an older planting scheme between Scalebeck and Howe Slack, by strengthening stock-proof fencing and a measure of re-planting of saplings damaged by deer and livestock.
[Note: To access ALL the event reports from the last 12 months just click on any of the “See more” links above.]
Plans for Winter 2023/24
In late autumn, we will begin planting over 2,000 trees in a Woodland Creation Scheme on land belonging to the Braithwaite family, immediately south of the ‘Mask Wood’ area planted in the winter of 2022/23.
There are ambitious plans to do further work on ‘Mask Wood’, itself, including:
- To develop this as a small ‘community wood’ with general public access
- To create a view-point, with bench
- To construct an area which can serve as an ‘outdoor-classroom’ for Asby Endowed School and as an outdoor service area for local churches
- The installation of paths that can provide access for people with mobility disabilities.
Work will continue at Gaythorne Hall, with a further 2.5km of hedgerow scheduled for planting.
Discussions with other local landowners are continuing, with a view to identifying further planting opportunities.
CROSBY RAVENSWORTH GROUP
Our Group is modelled upon the Tree Planting Group in Crosby Ravensworth which has been active since 2019. In their first two years they have made great progress, planting over 3500 trees, 7500 hedging plants (over 1250 metres), together with the associated protection measures.
Check out this presentation of their work recorded in March 2021: