The Wildlife Trust

Ash dieback is a disease affecting Ash trees in our countryside and towns. It threatens to wipe out over 90% of Britain’s native Ash species. Loss of ash trees, woodland, and hedgerow species could have a major impact on the wildlife and character of Devon’s countryside.

Organisations, communities and individuals across Devon are joining forces to take action to combat  environmental impacts of this unstoppable disease.

The tree nursery opened at Heathfield Farm which opened in 2023 is part of Saving Devon’s Treescapes – a project led by Devon Wildlife Trust. It is the second tree nursery to be established by Saving Devon’s Treescapes, following the success of a similar project at Meeth Quarry nature reserve, near Hatherleigh in 2020.

Since 2020 the project has worked with local communities, schools, landowners and businesses in its quest to plant and nurture 250,000 trees in five years. The project is a partnership funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and One Tree Planted. It aims to help to restore the losses of wild trees caused by the devastating impacts of Ash dieback disease.

Within two years, the Heathfield Farm nursery will be producing 10,000 native broadleaf species of trees including Rowan, Hazel and Birch. After spending their first two years being nurtured at the nursery, the young trees will be distributed free to local landowners and community projects to be planted across Devon’s countryside.

The long-term benefits of this for wildlife are significant. Trees offer homes and food to countless insects, birds and small mammals, as well as hosting lichens, mosses and fungi. We also know of the physical and mental health benefits that people gain from seeing and being among trees. The beneficial legacy of this nursery will be felt for decades to come.

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