Our natural environment works hard to capture our harmful emissions and turn them into the oxygen we breathe. We’re working hard to ensure our county is as green as possible to help us on our journey to net zero.
The Free Tree Giveaway is back with another 15,000 tree saplings up for grabs!
Applications are open to residents, schools, community groups and town and parish councils.
Apply today to claim a free tree sapling to plant this winter.
By completing this online application, you will be reserving an individual tree sapling or sapling pack to plant on your property.
We’ve selected just a handful of communities that are doing their bit for the planet by planting more trees to highlight the important work they are doing for Northumberland. Watch videos and find out more about the groups below.
Ellingham Church of England Primary School
‘A small school with a big heart’
Nestled in the heart of Chathill is Ellingham Church of England Primary School, which has a strong eco ethos running through its operations. The small rural school has a committed team of teachers, support staff, governors and parents, striving to create the best possible learning environment. The school hosted a community tree planting event which had everyone involved in learning about the natural environment.
Watch the video.
Riding Mill Outdoor Preschool
Riding Mill Outdoor Preschool sits in the heart of the small rural village of Riding Mill, near Prudhoe in west Northumberland. Being a predominantly outdoor school, the staff are keen to incorporate the natural environment and support children to learn through play.
The school applied to Northumberland County Council's free tree scheme in 2021 for a pack of native harvest hedges and applied again in 2022 to expand its woodland area. The trees have been planted near the school boundary fence with the help of the children and other members of the community-run preschool and will help with drainage and the provision of cleaner air once they mature.
The children love to engage with the tree planting process, helping them to understand the important role trees play in tackling climate change and are excited to see the trees grow and develop so that they can come and visit them in the future.
Watch the video.
Morpeth First School
Morpeth First School is a mainstream first school and integrated nursery where the planting and preservation of trees is part of its ethos. Outdoor learning is encouraged in its on-site forest school where children learn hands-on the importance of protecting the natural environment.
After hearing about Northumberland County Council’s free tree scheme on social media, the school applied for Native Harvest hedging to cordon off its forest school area. The children, their parents and carers came together to plant the trees which eventually will be coppiced for use within the forest school.
Morpeth First School recognises that many children thrive in an outdoor environment where they can demonstrate creative thinking that they may find difficult in the classroom. They believe being outdoors and planting trees helps the children think about how they behave in nature - well into adulthood - and hopefully will pass this on to future generations.
Ovington Tree Planting Group
Many of the 527 free-standing trees in the village of Ovington have ash dieback, a disease that will eventually kill the trees. Determined to do something about it, residents of Ovington have formed a tree planting group to replace the trees that are likely to die by claiming 90 copse saplings from the council’s free tree giveaway.
Concentrating on field boundaries, the group introduced silver birch, rowan, wild cherry and hawthorn species, starting new hedgerows. The group plan to continue tree planting on an annual basis with agreement of landowners.
Watch the video.
Berwick's Flagstaff Park
Park volunteers, Girl Guides and Brownies have worked together to plant almost 10,000 spring bulbs, with schoolchildren from Berwick’s Holy Trinity First School planting apple and pear trees in Flagstaff Park as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy campaign.
The Royal Horticultural Society judges for Northumberland in Bloom, supported the children with the planting and once the flowers begin to bloom, they will be a fantastic attraction to the town.
The whole school is passionate about helping the environment and are looking forward to watching the trees grow, creating a beautiful, healthier and greener place to enjoy.
Spring Nursery in Longhoughton has jumped at the opportunity to spruce up their sensory garden.
Trees play a huge part in children’s play and learning at this seaside nursery near Alnwick, Northumberland. The children learn about nature through collecting leaves, doing bark rubbings and learning at forest school.
Eager to build on this, the nursery claimed 30 tree saplings from the council’s free tree giveaway, using them to enhance the on-site sensory garden with a variety of species, including rowan, crab apple, elder and hazel.
Watch the video.
Aln Valley Railway Trust
The Aln Valley Railway Trust is a volunteer-led community group based at Lionheart Enterprise Park in Alnwick, focused on restoring the railway line between Alnwick and Alnmouth to its 1950’s former glory. Featuring a replica footbridge, waiting room, signal boxes and locomotive steam trains based on North Eastern Railway structures, the railway offers a unique tourist destination for the area.
The group has planted 120 tree saplings to help offset emissions from the coal burning and diesel locomotives. The trust hopes to continue planting more trees as it extends the line down towards Alnmouth.
Watch the video.
Tree Wardens care for trees and identify suitable land for local tree planting. Along with pruning, watering, rejuvenating and giving vital aftercare to trees and greenery in their local area, the wardens will be working with schools to educate children about the importance and value that trees have to our environment.
The scheme is currently being reviewed in order to better support volunteers in the network. We will be taking more volunteers once the review is complete. Please read the Tree Warden Volunteer role description for more information.
This will help tackle the big challenges facing society, such as:
Since the programme launched in 2021 over 1,140 hectares of woodland has been created plus over 543,000 individual trees or hedgerow trees in smaller schemes have been planted. This more than 2,131 football fields! (2,817 acres). More will be planted in the tree-planting season (October 2022-March 2023).
Find out more about the Great Northumberland Forest here.
The climate change team is now represented on the Northumberland Peat Partnership alongside the Ecology team. In autumn 2021, the Peat Partnership was successful in being awarded £779,000 in revenue funding. This will largely fund a project team to oversee conditional surveys and restoration projects for Northumberland’s peatlands.
Find out more about the partnership and wider work here.
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