VOLUNTEERS came together to take part in a mass planting of hundreds of trees at five sensitive sites across the Lake District.

It was the first event of its kind that the National Trust has organised and focused on Hoathwaite, Coniston; Fell Foot Park, near Newby Bridge; Gelncoyne Park, Ullswater; Coledale and Wasdale.

The aim of the day was to replace tree cover that has been lost in the past, generate new woodland and restore wood pasture. Many of the wood pastures in the Lakes contain only veteran trees that are coming to the end of their life. Planting young native broadleaf tree species should help to connect habitats together through wildlife corridors. This type of home is absolutely perfect for birds such as warblers, flycatchers and red starts.

Some of the planting was also about water and soil management. The National Trust is Europe’s largest conservation charity, looking after over a fifth of the land in the Lake District National Park. In December 2015 it was affected by flooding caused by Storm Desmond, which left the trust facing a million pound clean-up bill and more than £600,000 worth of uninsured damage.

Twenty-three people took part in the tree planting at Hoathwaite including National Trust staff from lots of different teams, rangers and volunteers. During the planting process many trees that had grown naturally since the site was clear felled about four years ago, were discovered and were also staked and protected by a cover. The work will help the woodland continue to re-generate.

Around 570 trees were planted at the site and National Trust Estate Manager David Towler said: “It’s great to be here today planting trees on this piece of land that we bought last summer, I can now start to imagine this as woodland again.”

Gemma Wren, Countryside Manager in the Lake District, said: “So many different groups joining together on one day to all get involved in this event demonstrates a shared love to care for the Lake District. We all know that the environment is under pressure and wildlife is in decline, so this leads us one step closer to preserving the landscape that we are incredibly passionate about.”

Mike Innerdale, Assistant Director for the National Trust in the Lake District, said: “With major storms occurring more frequently, we need to think about ways of making the Lakes more resilient to flooding.

“This requires all of us involved in managing this special place to work together to find solutions to how this landscape may need to be managed differently, while retaining the special qualities of the Lakes like the traditions of hill farming and communal grazing.”