Macclesfield Forest gets a tree-mendous winter boost as 500 saplings are planted

Winter isn’t all about wrapping up warm and drinking hot chocolate – it’s also the perfect time to plant new trees, so that’s what’s been happening at Macclesfield Forest.

Staff from United Utilities have planted 500 broadleaf saplings throughout the forest, including birch, oak, rowan, hazel and alder. These young trees were chosen to help improve biodiversity as part of the water company’s catchment management plan, and will establish themselves over the coming seasons to become an essential part of the forest habitat.

The tree planting was bolstered with the clearing of invasive conifers, with hundreds of these removed to stop them from outcompeting the newly established native trees, giving them a better chance to put out new shoots and truly thrive.

It was all carried out by United Utilities staff as part of a team-building activity, giving colleagues from the estates department the chance to get to the roots of land management.

Macclesfield Forest tree planting December 2022.jpgRob Hudson, Woodland Officer for Macclesfield Forest, said: “The team had a fantastic day getting hands-on with the tree planting and removing invasive species. It was a great opportunity for some of our office-based colleagues to branch out and get involved with the work that goes in to looking after our catchment land.

“We all know how vital trees are in helping to keep our air clean, and they can bring similar benefits for our water sources too. At Macclesfield Forest trees are an important element on our catchment land, and we manage the area in a holistic way that helps to protect and enhance the water environment, and also supports the wider environment too, including the wildlife that lives here.

“We hope the trees will thrive in their new home and we look forward to seeing them grow over the coming years.”

Macclesfield MP David Rutley has also been out and about in the forest recently, taking a guided tour with the United Utilities team. During the visit he saw the actions being taken to help ‘slow the flow’ of water through the land, and heard how the Macclesfield Forest Action Plan is developing.

He said: “I am pleased United Utilities are working alongside key stakeholders to progress the Macclesfield Forest Action Plan, taking on board the feedback and concerns raised.

“It was also positive to see first-hand the work the team have been doing to improve the forest’s local habitat, such as planting the 500 saplings and their work on natural flood prevention, with over 100 natural flood management features on site to slow the flow of water. I look forward to seeing this important work continue, alongside the continued development of the action plan.”

United Utilities uses a Catchment Systems Thinking approach to manage its catchment land in a holistic, integrated manner. The company has 56,000 hectares of land around it’s reservoirs in the North West of England, many of which people can visit and enjoy.

Catchment Systems Thinking