Take on Nature: Time to think about next year's tree-planting season

Rangers from National Trust, North Lakes District National Trust footpath team, Mourne Heritage Trust and a mountain path specialist from Upland Access Ltd at the conservation project at the iconic Glen River path to Slieve Donard

ALTHOUGH the season hasn’t quite turned yet, everything is starting to slow down. The first blotches of brown are starting to appear on tree leaves and the berries on bushes are ripening.

Next weekend will mark the autumn equinox when day and night are of equal length and we move into the darker evenings and later sunrises.

The damp summer, mixed with a balmy heat and occasional sharp days of sunshine, saw my young forest take another leap forward and it was the first year that I could see signs of a forest floor developing under the canopy of leaves.

There are now around 200 native Irish trees in the woodland I planted – another 20 or so were added in the autumn.

Around half the trees were sourced from Trees on the Land (formerly known as One Million Trees in Day) and planted over a three-year period – mountain ash, oak, silver birch, and Scots pine. I added in alder and willow as well as beech.

Trees on the Land are seeking applications form anyone interested in sourcing native Irish saplings for planting next year. The next planting day is Saturday February 15 2020 and applications will be open from this month until late November.

Tree packs will be available for the establishment of small woodlands, coppice, hedgerows, shelter belts, reforestation and agroforestry work. A number of heritage and traditional apple tree packs are also available.

Anyone who has previously sourced trees is urged to send in picture of them in leaf to

Newcomers who want more information about the project and details for making an application can visit the website

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AN ESTIMATED 100,000 people use the Glen River path from Donard Park in Newcastle each year to climb into the Mournes and its highest peak, Slieve Donard.

Such heavy football brings inevitable wear and tear and a team of rangers and volunteers from the National Trust have been working to restore and 'future-proof' the path which has become severely eroded.

The Mournes Path Project is a two-year project which sees rangers repairing ‘braided’ tracks, where walkers have created multiple routes and re-landscaping some of the areas around the upland paths to ensure they are accessible to the public.

Rangers from the north were assisted bye North Lakes District National Trust footpath team, Mourne Heritage Trust and a mountain path specialist from Upland Access Ltd

Mount Stewart Area Ranger, Toby Edwards said: "As rangers, we generally work on our own in isolated areas or small compact teams. It can be easy to get fixed on working on your own patch, but these meet ups are a great way to come together to support on the already brilliant work that the Mourne Rangers are doing.

"Work with the rangers from across the other National Trust sites provides the opportunity for the regional teams to get out to different locations together, share experiences, develop and hone their skills. For rangers new into the sector they can expand their skills base and for rangers like myself it’s a chance to polish up the skills I have already acquired and put them to good use.”

As part of the initiative, rangers continued their conservation activities and took the opportunity to carry out night-time species surveys of the NNR Murlough Dunes.

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FRIDAY is expected to see millions of people world-wide take part in the Global Climate Strike, with major demonstrations planned for Ireland's main cities – Belfast, Cork, Derry, Dublin, Galway and Limerick – and smaller protests also planned in towns throughout the country.

The strike is being organised across the world to encourage greater awareness of the climate emergency facing the entire planet.


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