Report by Jamie Horton, Photos by Jamie Horton and Carl Hudson
Despite high winds and cold weather conditions, more than 200 Thanet volunteers turned out to Dane Valley Green this morning (February 22) to help plant 200 trees. The planting area stretched from the one end of Dane Valley Road up to the Sure Start Children’s Centre.
People arrived from 8am and the steady stream of helpers continued to grow, wrapped up, some sporting woolly hats and gloves, young and old, filling the air with a sense of purpose, determination and good community spirit.
Sure Start Children’s centre was used as a holding facility for the trees to be stored prior to planting. A local farmer and his tractor and trailer mucked in, transporting trees to the site of planting.
The ground had been carefully marked out showing each individual dig site and type of tree to be planted. Cllr Paul Moore, Mayor of Broadstairs, was in attendance to show his support for the project, as were some of his colleagues from Margate Fire Station, who arrived by fire engine.
Youngster Darren Colby, Linda Smith, David Smith, Charlene Smith and Darren James – representing East Kent Hospitals – also planted a tree.
One of the group said: “We wanted to help the local wildlife, put more trees back into Thanet and bring more colour and variety to the area.”
The plan is to create Thanet’s first Arboretum which, once established, will bring enjoyment for everyone.
A representative of Riverside housing association was also in attendance, expressing the pleasure they had in giving the project their full support.
The scheme’s main independent sponsor, RiverOak Strategic Partners, was also represented at the event by Tony Freudmann. North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale was also present.
A spokesperson for organisers The Isle of Thanet Trees and woods Initiative said: “This is the biggest tree planting day of the whole ITTWI project.”
The ITTWI project is part of the Isle of Thanet Trees and Woods Initiative (ITTWI) which successfully secured £525,000 from the Urban Tree Challenge to plant 1,200 trees across George Park; Dane Park; The Sunken Gardens Westbrook;and Dane Valley Green.
The Urban Tree Challenge Fund was set up in response to the Government’s 25 year Environmental Plan as a means of re-greening some the UK’s districts with low tree canopy coverage.
The project is headed up by Luke Evans, Colourful Margate lead Stephanie Nsom; Peter Hasted of the Sunken Garden Revival project; and Thanet councillor Ash Ashbee.
Event at Dane Valley Woods
Tomorrow (February 23) a tree planting will be held at Dane Valley Woods from 10am to 1pm. One hundred native tree saplings that have been donated free of charge by the Woodland Trust will be planted by volunteers. These consist of 25 each of wild cherry, rowan, silver birch and field maple and are all species that have already developed well in the woods.
Meet at 10am at the Dane Valley Woods HQ in Dane Valley allotments (at the end of St Peters Footpath), or find the volunteers in the woods – they are easy to spot in our hi-viz yellow jackets!
The Dane Valley Woods group meet every last Sunday of the month.