Blackpool’s new tiny forest with 600 trees in the space of a tennis court

Pupils from Mereside Primary Academy helped plant the new mini forest

Hundreds of new trees have been planted in Blackpool as part of work to create a new mini forest in the resort.

A total of 600 new trees have been planted in Mereside as part of an initiative with Earthwatch Europe, an environmental charity that works to connect people to the natural world and OVO Foundation, the charitable arm of OVO Energy.

The forest, which is just the size of a tennis court, will provide a nature-rich habitat patch benefitting Blackpool’s urban wildlife. The team planted 600 trees in the small plot on Bowness Avenue to create a dense fast-growing native woodland. The planting method, developed in the 1970s by Dr Akira Miyawaki, encourages accelerated forest development and uses no chemicals or fertilisers.

The OVO Foundation is funding 12 Tiny Forests to be planted in areas of the UK over two planting seasons.

This will be Blackpool’s first Tiny Forest and will contribute to reconnecting people with nature, raising awareness –and helping to mitigate the impacts –of climate change, as well as providing nature-rich habitat patches to support urban wildlife.

This project ties in with Blackpool Council’s ambition to plant 10,000 new trees by 2029. Many trees were planted by a team of children from Mereside Primary Academy which is located within walking distance to the site.

Headteacher, Samantha Upton, said: “The children were so excited to take part in this wonderful initiative and can’t wait to see the outcomes of all their hard work. As the planting took place so close to school there is a real sense of community within the children who are very protective of their local area.

“As a school we pride ourselves in providing opportunities that enrich our children’s lives and show them the possibilities of what can be achieved if we all work together for the good of the community. We are therefore very grateful for the opportunity to take part in the Tiny Forest Programme.”

Councillors Jane Hugo, Kath Benson and Adrian Hutton also lent a hand. Cllr Hugo, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: “We are thrilled that Blackpool has been able to join in the Earthwatch, Tiny Forest approach after it was featured on Countryfile some time ago. This fantastic initiative, a first for Blackpool, has taken place in the heart of Mereside.

“I’m sure the local community and the pupils from Mereside Primary Acadamy will enjoy watching the trees grow and in years to come will be proud of what they have achieved. It’s great to see young people learning about the importance of trees in tackling the challenges of climate emergency. I’d like to thank everyone who took part, including Lancashire Fire and Rescue who kindly came to the site to water the new trees for us over the following few days as the weather had been unseasonably warm.”

Louise Hartley, Tiny Forest Programme Manager at Earthwatch Europe, said: “Tiny Forest provides rich opportunities for connecting young and old alike with the environment and sustainability. It’s vital that we give people the knowledge and skills to protect our natural world and inspire them to take positive action. We are delighted to be working with Blackpool Council to bring one of these inspiring spaces to Mereside in Blackpool.”

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