By Bethany Rossiter
Following the planting of 300 native trees at Penrose Stream at the end of January last year, further tree planting has taken place on the sides of the Cober Valley, near Helston. Over two days (Thursday 14th and Thursday 21st November 2019), 531 trees were planted on the streamside edge of two steeply sloping fields, and in a further field on the Cober Valley bottom, at Gwavas near Lowertown, Helston. The trees were donated by The Tree Appeal and were planted by volunteers from the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Upstream Thinking Project, Wild Cober Volunteer Team, the Environment Agency and Cornish Mutual, during some very wet and windy conditions.
A mix of several native species of trees were planted with several purposes in mind such as, reducing flood runoff from fields and to increase rainfall infiltration, in order to protect one of the smaller tributary rivers of the River Cober. Furthermore, this work will help to create a wooded stream corridor between the woodland and hedge habitats on the valley sides, and the larger Lower Cober Valley County Wildlife site woodland that cover much of the valley bottom, in the area between Lowertown and Helston.
A mix of faster and slower growing species of trees were planted. The faster growing downy Birch and Hazel and areas of Willow and Alder, beside the stream will quickly develop some wildlife and landscape interest, giving time for the slower growing wild Cherry, Rowan Sessile Oak and Holly to develop. Also, in order to create an understory layer in the woodland, the trees were also interplanted with several species of native shrubs including; Hawthorn, Hazel Blackthorn and Elder. This will have the benefit of providing shelter, nesting and feeding habitat for a range of insects, birds and small mammals.
The trees selected to be planted in this location are all broadleaved species that are native to this area of the country. This allows them to provide maximum benefits to native species of fungi, lichens and invertebrates in the area, as well as several species that sit higher up in the food chain that feed on them.