AN Exeter community woodland created by volunteers just before lockdown is already thriving, new photographs have shown.

In early March, 32 volunteers including the leader of the Council, Phil Bialyk, and David Harvey, lead councillor for environment and city management, donned wellies and gardening gloves to plant 1,500 trees at Ridgeline Park in Pinhoe – a mix of oak, spindle, rowan, hazel and Scot’s pine. The initiative was carried out alongside the charity Trees for Cities.

The woodland creation site was recently adopted by the City Council from a developer in order to provide green space for the local community.

Three months down the line, the young whips are already showing signs of growth, with some emerging from their protective casings and displaying vibrant green leaves.

Some of the trees have inevitably failed but an inspection found that the rate of failure was only 8 per cent.

Councillor David Harvey said: "It’s encouraging to see that, whilst everyone has been in lockdown, these trees have been taking their first steps of growth and in no time at all we will soon have a community woodland for everyone to enjoy.

"Trees not only benefit the environment and also provide valuable habitats for wildlife and biodiversity, they also deliver recognised benefits to mental health and wellbeing."

A 2018 I-tree canopy cover assessment revealed that Exeter’s canopy cover is 24.5 per cent, which is above average for UK towns and cities. Exeter City Council has set itself an ambitious target of reaching 30 per cent canopy cover by 2040. 

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