Volunteers take to Ryburn reservoir to help transform landscape

Volunteers planting trees at Ryburn reservoir
Community and people Energy and environment Land and recreation


A number of community volunteers helped to plant trees at Ryburn reservoir as part of a wider initiative between Yorkshire Water and the National Trust to improve landscapes across the South Pennines.


Along with Yorkshire Water rangers, the volunteers planted around 200 saplings at Ryburn reservoir near Ripponden – the first of 8,000 trees that will be planted at Ryburn and neighbouring Baitings reservoir.


Landscapes for Water is a joint programme of landscape restoration between the National Trust and Yorkshire Water that aims to improve wildlife habitats and provide natural flood defense to protect the environment and nearby communities. The programme will see 350 hectares of new woodland on land owned by Yorkshire Water and the National Trust - with 300,000 trees planted.


The woodland creation has been funded by the White Rose Forest via their Trees for Climate grant programme, part of the Government’s Nature for Climate fund. Landscapes for Water supports the White Rose Forest’s aims to plant more trees in major river catchments across North and West Yorkshire.


Planting started on Marsden Moor in January, and Ryburn and Baitings reservoirs are the second of five sites to see the development of new woodland.


David Spencer, lead ranger at Yorkshire Water, said: “It was fantastic to see so many volunteers wanting to come out and help us plant. Tree planting is a brilliant nature-led method of increasing flooding resilience with myriad benefits from carbon capture through to providing a better habitat for vulnerable wildlife.


“We’re looking forward to completing the planting later in the year and getting started in other areas – hopefully with the help of more volunteers.”


Alan Wright, one of the volunteers, added: "Despite the heavy showers, I had a very enjoyable and satisfying morning. The rangers were welcoming, well organised and knowledgeable, and it was brilliant to meet new people and work together in the countryside to improve biodiversity in the area. I look forward to visiting the site in the future and seeing how the trees grow and transform the plot.”


As well as the tree planting, 3,500 leaky dams will be installed as part of the Landscapes for Water programme – a form of natural flood management that can reduce downstream flow when needed.


The £7m conservation programme, which began in January this year, will take place over the next four years. The programme is part-funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, in addition to the investment by White Rose Forest.