Group of volunteers at the tree planting

600 trees breathe new life into Dogwood

Over 600 trees were planted by volunteers on Saturday 29th January as part of Knutsford Town Council’s Nature Action Plan.

With support from The Tatton Group, the Town Council organised a planting day beginning at the entrance to Dogwood which leads from the Moor to Tatton Park. The new trees will bolster the existing mature trees and eventually replace those that are lost naturally. 

Adopted in March 2020, the Nature Action Plan sets out the council’s commitment to improve Knutsford’s biodiversity and natural habitats and supports the council’s efforts to tackle climate change. Planting trees across the town is a key aspect of the plan, which not only increase the biodiversity value of local areas but capture carbon from the atmosphere.

The whips (very young saplings), which were provided by the Woodland Trust and The Conservation Volunteers, were planted by a team which included volunteers, students from Knutsford Academy and town councillors. Within a few hours hundreds of trees had been planted which will eventually grow into larger specimens and will capture tonnes of carbon through their lives.

Bob Allen, The Planning and Facilities Officer at Knutsford Town Council, said: “It was excellent to see support from the community and everyone that came made huge efforts to endure the wind and the rain to make a positive difference to the town for years to come. Trees are an important source of oxygen for us all and we want to encourage tree planting wherever possible!”

The Town Council is now preparing its second phase of standard (1.5m-2m) tree planting on open spaces across the town.

To find out more about tree planting or the Nature Action Plan you can visit www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/natureactionplan

Whips in plastic tubes in the foreground

800 whips planted on open spaces in December

Eight hundred whips were planted in Knutsford this month as part of the Town Council’s nature action plan which aims to improve Knutsford for wildlife and tackle climate change.

On Saturday 4th December volunteers from the Town Amongst Trees project planted 500 whips at two open spaces on Ashworth Park. The whips were planted in the borders of the sites and will develop into mixed native copses. The planting day coordinated by the council’s Planning and Facilities Officer, Bob Allen, who leads on the implementation of the plan. The volunteers spent hours in the rain getting the whips in the ground in National Tree Week and were supported by local residents supplying warming tea and fresh cake!

Bob Allen sorting whips
Planning and Facilities Officer Bob Allen

Later in the month Town Ranger Bob Garner planted a new native hedge of 300 whips around an open space on Manor Crescent. The new hedge at the green next to the 2nd Knutsford Scout Hut, will develop into a native hedgerow. Hedgerows provide shelter, nesting opportunities and food for birds and an assortment of invertebrates and once established the fence surrounding the green will be removed.

The whips were provided free of charge by the Woodland Trust and The Conservation Volunteers.

In early 2022 the Town Council will be planting a further 120 trees on open spaces across the town as part of its mission to greatly increase tree cover in the town and, with funding from Redrow, is supporting the creation of a community wildflower allotment.

“Since adopting our Nature Action Plan in 2020 we have created new wildflower meadows, planted hundreds of trees and in spring will see thousands of bulbs flower thanks to efforts from volunteers across the community” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green. “We’ve more work to do in 2022, but Knutsford is well on its way to being a great example of how towns can provide for wildlife across their open spaces”.

Knutsford Big Bulb Plan 11th-24th October 2021

The Knutsford Big Bulb Plant

Knutsford Town Council has launched the Knutsford Big Bulb Plant a fortnight of bulb planting events taking place across the Town. The fortnight runs form 11th October to 24th October and residents are encouraged to apply to host an event in their neighbourhood.

Part of the Knutsford Nature Action Plan, the Big Bulb Plant aims to increase the number of spring flowering bulbs across the whole town. The Town Council will provide event hosts with a selection of bulbs suitable for the area they are planting along with some printed flyers to promote the event to their neighbours.

The council has ordered a selection of bulbs including snowdrops, crocus, winter aconite, daffodil, wild garlic, bluebell and tulip which together provide colour between January through to May and, importantly, provide pollinators with an early food source.

“The Big Bulb Plant puts residents in charge of where bulbs are planted in the town” said Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Green who will be leading an event on his street at Manor Crescent. “We are inviting residents to apply to host an event on a green space near them – we’ll provide the bulbs and help promote the bulb planting and together the town will bloom beautifully in Spring 2022”.

Events already planned for the fortnight include bulb planting on Manor Crescent, Ashworth Park and Shaw Drive.

To view events taking place in your neighbourhood or to schedule your bulb planting event visit www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/big-bulb-plant.

Volunteers surveying a tree

Milestone in Tree Mapping Project

A milestone has been reached by volunteers working to promote trees in Knutsford as part of the Town Council’s Nature Action Plan as they complete a census of all trees on public land.

The volunteers, led by Malcolm Thomas and Kevin Griffiths seek to raise awareness across the town and to encourage tree maintenance and planting. They believe that trees give our neighbourhood life, colour and beauty, clean our air, protect us from extreme weather and provide habitats for wildlife.

With support from the Town Council, the volunteers are carrying out a census of mature trees. So far, they have tagged, recorded and mapped 940 street trees. Whilst they had previously estimated from aerial images that there were 8000 such trees in Knutsford their work has established that most trees in Knutsford are on privately owned land, including schools, sports clubs, businesses and house gardens.

Currently, the group is extending the census to community woods, including College Wood, St John’s Wood and The Heath, in collaboration with Friends groups and local residents.

To complete the census, the group is appealing to the local community for help, asking community groups and businesses to share information about trees on their land. Volunteers are available to help landowners undertake the tree census and provide guidance on the project. The group are also welcoming new volunteers to assist with the project.

If you are able to support the project as a volunteer or by providing information / access for trees to be surveyed you can contact the group via the Town Council’s Planning and Facilities Officer, Bob Allen bob.allen@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

A view of a grassland meadow

Wildflower Meadow in Bloom

Knutsford Town Council is committed to tackling climate change and improving the town’s biodiversity and natural habitats – as defined and guided by the Knutsford Nature Action Plan.

As part of the Action Plan, the Town Council looks to support wildlife corridors and habitat creating across Knutsford and to support this have collaborated with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust to create wildflower meadows.

A fantastic tool for improving biodiversity and provide habitat for pollinating insects, the Knutsford Wildflower Meadow seeds are all local varieties and were harvested from a meadow in Swettenham. The seed mix included Yellow rattle, Ox-eye daisy, Cat’s-ear, Mouse-ear, Common knapweed, Devil’s-bit scabious, Betony, Self-heal, Red clover, Ribwort Plantain, Meadow buttercup and Common sorrel as well as four grasses – Crested dog’s-tail, Sweet vernal, Common bent and Yorkshire fog. The sowing of the meadow also disturbed cornflower and poppy seeds from a previous annual meadow on the site.

The Environment Committee is looking for other suitable areas to allow for more wildflower meadows to be created in Knutsford for their positive impact on the environment and local wildlife. 

Cllr Matthew Robertson stood at the Barncroft Meadow
Cllr Matthew Robertson at the Meadow

After visiting the Wildflower meadow on The Barncroft, which is behind St Cross Church , Cllr Matthew Robertson, Deputy Chairman of the Environment Committee said: “I am proud to have been elected to represent a community with such passion for preserving and protecting it’s natural heritage and environment. It is a responsibility I take seriously and I am fully committed to supporting any projects which will help achieve the goals of the Knutsford Nature Action Plan.

The Wildflower Meadow is a fantastic project to bring a more natural and environmentally friendly space back to the centre of Knutsford. It is great to walk through The Barncroft, and I have especially enjoyed seeing how the variety of seeds have developed.

We are looking for other areas and as this has been a successful project. We encourage residents to get in touch with their suggested areas.”

Residents can suggest areas for a new wildlflower meadow by emailing townclerk@kntusfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

Photo of the meadow courtesy of Kevin Griffiths.

Town Ranger Bob Garner holding two bird boxes

Bird and Bat Boxes Installed

After opening a (bug) hotel last year Knutsford Town Council is now offering seasonal lodgings for birds and bats after installing 21 bird and bat boxes on its open spaces as part of its Nature Action Plan.

Boxes were installed on mature trees at the cemetery, Higher Town Green, Wallwood and the Obelisk green, the four open spaces which are managed by the town council.

The boxes were all made by the council’s Planning and Facilities Officer, Bob Allen, who volunteered his time to create them with his son. Bob’s role includes coordinating the work of the council’s Nature Action Plan and he is currently preparing plans for the council’s first major tree planting scheme in March.

Bob created a number of bat boxes and a range of bird boxes tailored for the demands of some of our most common feathered friends – great tits, sparrows, blue tits and robins.

Bob said, “I enjoyed making the boxes with some help from my son Edward and it is rewarding to see them up on our open spaces.”

“The next stage of our Nature Action Plan is to commence our ambitious tree planting programme and we hope to share details of the areas we’ll be covering this year very soon”

The boxes were installed by Knutsford’s Town Ranger, Bob Garner who will ensure they are cleared out each year to encourage new visitors the following season.

The Knutsford Nature Action Plan was adopted in March 2020 as part of the council’s commitment to tackling climate change and improving the town’s biodiversity and natural habitats. You can find out more about what Knutsford Town Council is doing for nature as part of the Nature Action Plan at www.kntusfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/natureactionplan

Kevin Griffiths and Malcolm Thomas Measure a Tree

Help map Knutsford’s trees

Volunteers are sought to help map every tree on public land in Knutsford.

The tree mapping project is part of the Town Council’s Nature Action Plan and will see a record made of the species and location of each tree to help create plans to ensure the town retains its sylvan character.

The project is being led by volunteers Malcolm Thomas and Kevin Griffiths who came up with the idea and volunteers will be given an area to survey with guidance on how to identify the different tree species. Volunteers will then attach a metal tag to the tree and log it using their smart phone.

“Malcolm and Kevin’s preliminary work suggests there are over 8,000 mature trees in Knutsford around half of which are in private gardens; the other half are on public spaces and this project will help ensure their long-term protection to keep Knutsford a town amongst the trees” Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Green said.

The tree mapping project will be followed by the Town Council setting out plans to see thousands more trees planted in Knutsford as part of its commitment to nature and the environment. Other projects include installing bird and bat boxes on council trees and sowing a wildflower meadow on the Barncroft.

Those interested in volunteering to help map trees can contact the Town Council on 01565 653 929 or email jill.webb@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Town Ranger with Bug Hotel in Wallwood

Bug Hotel Opens in Wallwood

A new hotel has opened in Knutsford Town Centre – Bob’s Bug Hotel is now accepting bookings!

The bug hotel can be found in Wallwood and was created by Town Ranger Bob Garner as part of the town council’s Nature Action Plan and will soon be followed by a sister hotel on Higher Town Green.

Bug hotels provide a safe hideaway for wildlife and are made with an assortment of recycled materials, they are popular as nest sites for insects and solitary bees.

The hotel accommodation has been started off by Bob with space left for families to take part and complete. Families visiting the town centre can bring an assortment of materials to create a range of nooks, crannies, crevices, tunnels and cosy beds!

“I’ve filled one side with natural materials for our mini beasts’ stay but we need your help to fill it all. This is a great project for young people to spend some time with nature” said Bob.

Materials that can be used include pinecones, straw, bamboo canes, non-plastic tubes, old tiles and even cardboard. The key is to create a diverse and varied hotel with a range of habitats.

The Town Council adopted its Nature Action Plan in March, setting out three missions to increase the number of trees in Knutsford, improve biodiversity and connect green corridors and increase wildlife friendly planting. The council is currently planning a survey to map all trees in Knutsford and identifying locations where new trees, shrubs and wildflowers could be planted.