Taking a bough: the Cumbria park staff rooting for trees

Branching out: Michael Holgate (rear) says staff played a big part in putting 500,000 years of tree life into motion

Branching out: Michael Holgate (rear) says staff played a big part in putting 500,000 years of tree life into motion

Half-a-million years of tree-life have now taken root at south Cumbria’s Silverdale Holiday Park, thanks to a massive conservation project aided by staff.

Hundreds of native species have been planted this spring in the grounds, including oaks and yews which can live for up to seven centuries..

It’s been estimated that around 500,000 years of newly planted hardwoods are now ready to branch out, creating homes, food and breeding habitats for a raft of wildlife.

But according to business owner Michael Holgate, the project required very careful planning to ensure the best chance of survival for the saplings.

Experts were brought in, he said, to plot locations around the 100-acre coastal park where the trees would be best protected from the salt-laden winds:

“An easier option for us would have been non-native trees which flourish more readily, but these don’t provide the same benefits to birds, animals and insects,” said Michael.

Now an even greener outlook for Silverdale park guests

Now there’s an even greener outlook for Silverdale park guests

“We are especially keen to create homes and food sources for red squirrels which, with the help of local nature groups, we hope will soon be staging a come-back here.

“Our staff got right behind the project as we had a May deadline for the optimum planting period, and they are now able to watch their adopted trees set out on their long life,” he added.

Last year, Silverdale was one of just 15 holiday parks, from around 3,000 in Britain, to gain a special honour from botanist Professor Bellamy in his annual conservation awards.

It celebrated over eight miles of new hedgerows planted in 2017 by the park to create a “wildlife corridor” to help sustain species from dormice and hedgehogs to butterflies and bees.

Michael Holgate, whose family business began over 60 years ago and now comprises six top-rated parks in the area, said the new trees are its most exciting initiative yet:

“This is future planning on a pretty big scale, given that we are setting in motion around half-a-million years of tree life in Silverdale,” he said.

“Wildlife will certainly benefit, but trees also help prevent soil erosion, store carbon to combat climate change, and capture polluting chemicals which run off farm land.

“Best of all, trees simply look lovely – and I know that many of our staff are proud of playing their part in creating a landscape for future generations to enjoy,” added Michael.

Supplying the trees and helping lead the planting work at Silverdale were horticultural specialists Acer Contracts of Preston in Lancashire.

There is more information about the group’s parks at www.holgates.co.uk

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