THE first seeds have been planted in an environment project which is believed to be a UK first.

The community-run Ford Park in Ulverston wants to create a new arboretum in the grounds of the popular greenspace.

Town mayor Sharon Webster helped plant an oak sapling - the first of 42 trees set to grow in the park’s collection of native species.

“This gives me great pleasure to plant this tree, and watch the acorns grow,” she said in a speech after planting it. “I hope the 42 new trees will look stunning when they are grown, and I also really like my plaque, so thank you very much.

“This is part of the town council’s environmental proposals for Ulverston that include planting more trees in and around the town. I am delighted to support Ford Park’s tree planting plans and wish them every success with their native species arboretum”

Ford Park chief executive Jill Salmon said: “We are very excited about our upcoming arboretum which will showcase and celebrate native tree species.

“We believe our arboretum will be the only one dedicated to native tree species in the UK and we are very proud to welcome the mayor as she plants the first tree as part of National Tree Week.

“We would like to have more information about the trees put up, so people can learn more about them.”

The park is entirely charity run after the Ford Park Community Group was formed in 1998 to save the park before buying in 2005.

“We hope that if people enjoy their experience here they will come back later in their lives to support it,” she added.

Andrew Wilkinson, park ranger, said: “There are a lot of arboretum around the country but we think this is the only one which is just made up of native UK species.”