The Woodland Trust is celebrating the beginning of the New Year by planting its 1,000th wood involving almost 13 million new trees which, if set a normal distance apart, would stretch from the North to the South Pole.
Those new saplings were planted by some 300,000 volunteers, many of them school children who have created new woods in their own school grounds or in the local neighbourhood.
They now cover some 26,000 acres, a greater area than that covered by all the lakes in the Lake District but the trust has plans to take the numbers planted from just under 13 million to a staggering 20 million a year.
Says trust president Clive Anderson, the lawyer and television presenter: "Research gathered over recent years has highlighted the countless essential benefits to people, wildlife and the environment that come from planting trees and creating new woodland habitats. “To maximise these the UK needs to plant 20 million native trees per year.
"The simple act of planting trees unleashes a host of benefits: in just 12 years they become beautiful woodland, home to a vast array of wildlife and places where children can play, adults reflect, birds and plant life flourish and communities come together.
“They lock up carbon, are a natural defence against flooding provide shelter from the elements and offer a sustainable supply of eco-friendly fuel. A public opinion survey commissioned by the Trust emphasised that point with 72% of the population agreeing the UK needs more trees.”
The trust manages many areas of woodland in North Yorkshire, including the famous Skipton Woods which nestle around the town’s 900-year-old castle.