Planting Parishes

The Planting Parishes initiative is a joint project between ECDC and the Woodland Trust (WT). It main objective is to increase the level of tree cover in East Cambridgeshire by 5-10% by creating new woodlands for people to enjoy. East Cambridgeshire is one of the least wooded areas in England but through the Planting Parishes project ECDC and the WT aims to address this issue and help create lasting landscape change for the current and future people of East Cambridgeshire.

ECDC are the main administrators of the project and are working with the WT and parish councils in the district to identify suitable locations for new woodlands. The WT are provide the technical knowledge of tree planting and management and are acting as the fundraising co-ordinators for the project. Through a combination of our knowledge and experience ECDC and the WT can provide an extensive support network for parish councils who wish to improve their landscapes, plan for climate change or simply to create a place that is meaningful for the local community.

Benefits of the project

Planting new woodlands is seen as an effective way of addressing issues of climate change. Trees provide resources that can counter balance some of the effects of pollution and CO2. They provide key habitats for birds, mammals and support other flora and fauna. Trees are also an integral part in maintaining natural systems such as the water cycle. The planting of new woodlands can therefore provide a number of benefits for people, society and the environment. They also provide a longer-term approach to managing landscape resources and storing carbon, an issue that is central to tackling climate change.

Woodlands also provide excellent locations for leisure, play and relaxation. The UK Department of Health has stated that access to open spaces and woodlands has a clear positive impact of people's physical and mental well-being. Even short visits to woodlands and green spaces can make big differences to how people feel. Children also benefit from woodlands as they offer locations for adventure play and socialisation. The use of woodlands by children and young people has also been identified as a method of developing a longer term use of these spaces, thus promoting better health and well-being in adult life.

The planting of new woodlands is also a good way of fostering a more engaged community. Planting events and use of woodlands by the community provide a sense of ownership for local people who consider these trees their own. In the long term this increases the use of the woods but also provides a local level of management and respect for the landscape. The WT has seen over the years the positive impact planting new woodlands in schools and communities has had and is one of the objectives of the Planting Parishes project to promote more inclusive communities.

What you can do?

Parish councils and individuals can identify land under their ownership they think would be suitable for planting woodlands. By contacting ECDC the parish council will be informed of the project aims and how the process of creation occurs. ECDC will then liaise with the WT over the suitability of the land, the types and numbers of trees that would be suitable and will discuss a fundraising package. The parish council will be kept informed with regular progress updates and will be able to have as much or as little input as they would like.

The team at ECDC and the WT who are working on the projects are:

Project Co-ordination

Julie Cornwell, Partnerships Officer, East Cambridgeshire District Council -  Tel: 01353 66555


Liz McLelland, Regional Development Officer, Woodland Trust -   Tel: 0845 293 5792 

Woodland Creation

Lee Dudley, Woodland Creation Manager, Woodland Trust

Correspondence should be address through Ian Mell and Julie Cornwell. They will liaise with the WT and respond to any enquiries.