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500,000 trees to be planted in Somerset by new social enterprise Wanderlands.

The team behind the project has already started planting thousands of trees.

Half a million trees are set to be planted in Somerset over the next five years by a new social enterprise working to tackle the climate crisis.

Wanderlands works with businesses and individuals to reduce carbon emissions through tree planting and improving biodiversity.

The organisation is the brainchild of Shepton Mallet-based Tim Oliver and Pat Bridgman, who began work on the project this month in the village of Croscombe, just outside Wells.

The team is currently restoring an ancient Somerset meadow – known locally as Croscombe Hill – back to its ecological roots.

The area was recently named as an important UK heritage site with prehistoric and Romano-British archaeology that stretches across the Southern Mendips.

The rewilding project will therefore protect the archaeological legacy of this special piece of land,” said Mr Oliver.

The scientific rationale for promoting biodiversity, as well as planting trees, has now been well documented. We know that by enhancing biodiversity, we can capture even more carbon.

At Wanderlands, we’ll be doing this through several rewilding ‘biodiversity’ projects across the county.”

On February 1 the team began planting more than 3,000 trees on an adjacent site, Paradise Hill, introducing native broadleaf species including beech, oak and birch.

According to Mr Oliver, all the trees have been planted in line with the UK Forestry standard.

Information boards are now being set up in order to encourage public access and provide an educational resource for schools and the wider public.

The team’s long-term goal, explained Mr Oliver, is to plant more than 100,000 new trees in Somerset every year, over the next five years, establishing new forests, fauna and flora – before doing the same further across the UK.

Wanderlands forestry director Oli Frost added: “Our aim is to make a substantial improvement to the environment as well as a meaningful contribution to our community.

Wanderlands projects are also designed to educate. A growing number of people now realise how critically important trees are to our health and survival. Trees don’t just lock away carbon – they help filter the water we drink, clean the air we breathe, and provide vital and irreplaceable habitat for our wildlife.”

The launch of Wanderlands coincides with the pending UK Environment Bill – due for a final reading in Parliament this autumn.

One of its key proposals is ambitious sustainability targets in line with the Paris Climate Accord. This commitment will have wider implications and a mandate for larger and medium-sized UK businesses and organisations to report on and offset their carbon footprints and create a plan for how they might achieve carbon-neutral status.

The above article by Hannah Baker first published on in Feb, 2021.