2,000 trees will be planted to create woodland walk at Ardeer Quarry
As part of the Garnock Connections Landscape Partnership project, which is led by RSPB in conjunction with North Ayrshire Council and other organisations, 2,000 trees will soon be planted at Ardeer Quarry Nature Reserve.
The project is being delivered by Stevenston conservation charity FRIENDS after funding was secured to create an idyllic woodland walk trail, comprising native tree species, to benefit both people and wildlife and help tackle climate change.
The group undertook an extensive local consultation exercise to garner support for the proposal.
North Ayrshire Council has signed a temporary occupation licence with FRIENDS to enable the conservation team to plant 3.3 hectares of new woodland.
Separately, North Ayrshire Council declared a climate emergency last year and launched a consultation called ‘Climate Change: Just Cool It” to invite people to share their views on what can be done together to prevent irreversible damage to our environment.
Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet Member for Place, said: “The project is one of a number projects being funded through a £1.3m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with match funding coming from partner organisation contributions including North Ayrshire Council, a variety of other sources and specifically the Green Infrastructure Community Engagement Fund for the new Ardeer Community Woodland.
“This project will not only provide an attractive new woodland area that offers recreation, leisure, and biodiversity benefits for the local community, but will also contribute to our aspirations to tackle climate change as the trees planted will help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”
Iain Hamlin, Secretary at FRIENDS said: "We're really pleased that the project has come to fruition and tree planting will shortly be underway. The new wood will bring many benefits. As well as contributing to attempts to tackle climate change, the creation of the wood will provide visitors with an attractive new woodland walk.”
Trainees from East Ayrshire Woodlands will be assisting FRIENDS in planting the significant number of trees as part of the Green Network Training Programme – a practical work experience programme for trainees seeking to secure full time employment in the forestry and landscaping sector.
The new woodland area will consist mainly of oak and birch with an understory of holly, elder, rowan and hazel trees. Connecting a pathway to an existing path network, the new walkway will provide an alternative route to a section of the woodland which had previously been waterlogged for over 30 years.
Coordinating the project is Ian McNab, Garnock Connections Project Officer.
Ian said, “This new woodland is a great example of successful partnership working between Garnock Connections, North Ayrshire Council and FRIENDS.
“The woodland trail will offer so many benefits to the local communities and beyond. Whether bird watching or taking the dog for a walk, visitors can enjoy this wonderful new feature for generations to come. Moreover, as the trees grow, they will provide more homes for wildlife and help us in our continued fight against climate change.”