Ashgill Plantation is a 50 acre site situated in the beautiful North Pennines in one of the last remaining wild parts of England. We purchased the woodland in 2009 to prevent it from being clear felled and it is now the only remaining part of a 1000 acre plantation. It is a Sitka Spruce woodland which we are converting back to a mixed woodland to maintain current wildlife, in addition to encouraging a more diverse habitat. We already have an abundance of wildlife including Red Squirrels, Fallow Deer and Pine Martens, as well as many different species of birds. We also have a number of rescue hens, cockerels and ducks who enjoy their retirement, wandering freely around the woodland. We buy feed for them, so they don’t compete with the wildlife for food and we donate our surplus eggs to our local foodbank to support our community.
Currently, worldwide, trees only have a value when they are felled, resulting in widespread deforestation which has a devastating effect on wildlife by destroying habitats and is having a devastating effect on our planet. A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 21kg per year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings. One acre of trees annually consumes the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to that produced by driving an average car for 26000 miles. That same acre of trees also produces enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe for a year.
At Ashgill Woodlands Adventures we are aiming to provide evidence of a competitive model for forestry, to demonstrate that trees can have a value when left standing, which in turn will have a vital positive impact on the sustainability of our planet, whilst giving people access to nature to support their mental health. We are doing this by offering days out to families, wild camping and as we thin out and replant, we are finding alternative uses for the wood that are more environmentally sustainable than firewood. For example, we have built a large log cabin workshop for a local children’s charity.