Devon's treescapes are stunning and crucial habitats for so much wildlife. But, they are under threat from many things including ash dieback; which is estimated to kill at least 90% of Devon’s ash trees in the coming years. It will affect everyone, but everyone can be part of the solution. Use this app to record details of notable trees near you to play your part.
Notable trees are usually mature trees which may stand out in your local environment because they are large in comparison with other trees around them. With everyone recording the Notable trees local to them we’ll be able to build up a picture of the health of Devon’s Treescapes. We’re focusing on all trees, but we also want to keep a close eye on any ash trees that might be showing signs of resistance to help the vital ongoing research into Ash dieback.
Saving Devon’s Treescapes started in March 2020 and over five years we aim to plant and nurture 250,000 trees outside of woodlands across Devon. Not only that but we want increase knowledge about the importance of our treescapes and ensure the cultural importance of ash trees is celebrated and not forgotten. Here are just some of the achievements from the last year:
- Planted over 10,000 trees outside of woodlands
- Held 14 free tree community hubs, distributing trees locally
- Recorded over 27km of hedgerow for brown hairstreak butterflies (and found over 450 eggs!)
- Set up 5 micro-nurseries within schools so they can grow their own local trees
- Completed 50 free advisory visits to landowners
- Created 5 new community orchards
- Created an online exhibition, documenting Ash Dieback and the replanting efforts
We also established a community tree nursery at our Meeth Quarry Nature Reserve. The nursery will grow 7500 cell grown trees every year for communities to plant locally for free. All trees will be grown from locally sourced seeds including some local species such as the Devon Whitebeam. Our nursery relies of the amazing commitment of volunteers. If you live locally to Meeth and would like to volunteer, please take a look at the Tree Nursery Volunteer role description here.
Help to survey Brown Hairstreak butterflies (November-March)
Monitoring if brown hairstreak butterflies happens in the winter months and so we will restart again in November 2021. Usually we will hold training session in November to help you get started. In 2020 we also held an online training which you can now watch online. Brown Hairstreak butterflies are important for us to monitor and record because they rely on well connected, high quality treescapes for all stages of their life cycle. Devon is also one of the last national strongholds of this scarce butterfly.
Online Recording Form
Supporting landowners across Devon
The Saving Devon's Treescapes project are offering free advisor visits to landowners across Devon, so we can provide hope and action in the face of the alarming changes that are already affecting our precious treescapes. We have already helped businesses like Otter Brewery plant hundreds of trees to help strengthen Devon's treescapes and enable wildlife to thrive.
We’re working alongside FWAG SW to deliver free advisory visits to landowners across Devon. These visits will focus on:
- Management of hedges, in-field and hedge trees, orchards, wood pasture
- Identifying individual hedge trees and tagging them to allow individual trees to grow up
- Hedge restoration, planting new hedges and sympathetic hedge management (funded through Countryside Stewardship option and capital items)
- Planting small on-farm woodlands (using trees grown in the project’s own nurseries, potentially using project volunteers)
- 3-2-1 ash replacement formula: planting at least three new trees for every large ash, two for every medium-sized ash and one for every small ash
One of our advisors can visit your land, complete a report with recommendations and then advise and support you on the best funding opportunities.
We are particularly interested in landowners within our 5 focus landscapes – South Devon, Torbay, Exeter and Cranbrook, Coly Valleys and Neroche.
Free trees hubs We are offering free trees (whips) for planting in your garden or any land where you have permission. We’re giving these away at local distribution hubs where you can collect a free cell grown tree, a planting guide and tree protection. Each hub will have between 200-400 trees to give away and will be run by local volunteers. All trees available are UK native species such as Oak, Rowan and Crab Apple.
School tree planting We are working with schools across the county to plant new trees and engage children in education around treescapes. We can offer different things depending on your school’s capacity:
- Free tree packs: up to 45 saplings to plant or to distribute for pupils to plant at home. If you’re looking for more trees then get in touch and we’ll what we can do
- Micro-nurseries: we can support you with materials and guidance to set up your own tree nursery to grow trees.
- Education: the DWT schools team can come in and engage your students in some outdoor learning focused around trees. Or we can provide lesson plans and idea for you to deliver yourselves.
Ash dieback is expected to impact up to 90% of our ash trees There are around 1.9 million mature ash trees outside of woodlands in Devon with up to 90% of them due to be affected by Ash Dieback. Ash Dieback is a fungal disease which originated in Asia and was first recognised in the UK in 2012. Sadly our native ash trees have no natural defence against it.
Ash trees produce small white fruiting bodies which release spores. The spores can blow tens of miles away and land on the leaves of other ash trees. They then penetrate the leaf allowing the fungus to grow inside the trees, blocking it’s water transport systems and eventually causing it to die. You can read more information about Ash Dieback and what to do if you suspect it here.
To ensure the ash tree is not forgotten, the Saving Devon’s Treescapes project has created an Ash Archive. This is a central place for people to share their emotional and artistic response to Ash Dieback. Whether it’s a painting, poem or photo, everything is welcome. Please submit your work here.
In 2020/21 we also commissioned local photographer, Robert Darch, to capture Ash Dieback in the landscape and the replanting efforts. His work is harrowing but beautiful and you can view it here.