We have some exciting plans in the pipeline at Avon Needs Trees in 2024! In this month’s guest blogpost, ANT CEO Dave Wood speaks about our incredible new project: Landscape Recovery in the Lower Chew. Read on to find out more about the project and why it is so significant.

When you realise that tree cover in our area is down to just 8%, that wildlife is in such decline that some species have dropped by 95% in recent decades, and that more and more homes in our area are at flood risk, you feel keenly that action is needed both urgently and on a bigger scale.

Nature is all about connection. New woodlands are often best linked with with well-maintained existing woodlands. Connected wildlife corridors revive the habitats that let species thrive. Careful tree planting along a river – riparian planting – can benefit entire communities downstream. Not to mention the human connection with nature, and the part we all play in slowing climate change and helping nature to bounce back.

All this becomes more impactful when you work at a landscape scale: connecting and enhancing natural processes not only in the field in front of you, but as far as the eye can see. 

Avon Needs Trees’ new project – Landscape Recovery in the Lower Chew – will work with people across 860 acres of land south of Bristol to make a significant and lasting difference for people and nature. We want to nurture the landscape and all its complexities. In different parts of the landscape, interventions over the twenty years of the project might look like: creating new woodlands; protecting existing woodlands; enhancing wildlife corridors, grasslands and soil health; improving river health and natural flood management; or providing access to nature. The landowners we’ve worked alongside thus far have been a helpful and passionate bunch, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to build this plan with them.

At Avon Needs Trees, we are a small charity trying to make a big impact, carefully but quickly.  Our incredible team and unique approach have enabled us to work quickly when new opportunities arise. We are enormously grateful for the funding our projects attract, and the difference it makes cannot be overstated. However, the immense amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to create new projects and put such applications together is much harder to fund, and we depend upon donations from individuals who care about our planet, and ethically-minded businesses. We resist greenwashing, so turn away donations from the aviation industry and the arms-dealers! But this means we need your help. If you can help us make a difference at these early stages when we need it the most, do donate once or regularly if you can.

Our new Landscape Recovery in the Lower Chew project will develop plans over the course of 2024 and has been awarded funding as part of the Landscape Recovery Fund. We are grateful to our partners at the West of England Combined Authority, Bristol Avon Rivers Trust, Bath & North East Somerset Council, West of England Nature Partnership and Forest of Avon Trust for their expertise and help in establishing this new project. Most of all we are grateful to our volunteers, neighbours, people who donate, and our staff and supporters for making what we do possible.

Keep an eye on our newsletter and social media channels in 2024 for ways to get involved.