20,000 new trees have been planted in the first 6 months of an ambitious ten-year project to create an urban forest in Cardiff.
The Coed Caerdydd project forms part of Cardiff Council’s response to the climate emergency aims to increase tree canopy coverage in Cardiff from 18.9% to 25%.
Working with local communities, the first season of planting has seen new community orchards planted, important species restored, new hedgerows created, hundreds of trees donated to households, community groups and schools.
Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Events Cllr Jennifer Burke-Davies said: “Trees are vital to the health of our city and our planet. Cardiff’s trees already absorb 10.5% of the pollutants emitted by its traffic and remove the equivalent of the annual carbon emissions of around 14,000 cars from the atmosphere – but if we’re going to realise our vision of a carbon neutral Cardiff by 2030 then we need to plant many more of them.
“The Coed Caerdydd project has already seen a step-change in the number of trees we plant – our mainstream planting programme saw more than 4,000 trees planted across the season – the introduction of additional Coed Caerdydd planting takes the total figure to over 20,000 trees.
“That’s thanks to the fantastic support we’ve had from residents, community groups, local ward councillors, businesses, and schools. Their help has been essential to getting trees in the ground, but also to making sure they’re looked after properly so that they thrive in the long-term.
“Although it’s the wrong time of year for planting trees, there are still lots of ways for people to get involved – whether that’s by suggesting sites for planting, surveying sites or monitoring the health of newly planted trees. What we’re trying to achieve here is something that will benefit future generations for years to come, and the more people willing to lend a hand, the more we can achieve.”
Coed Caerdydd in numbers
In its first 6-month planting season the project has:
- planted 16,000 trees across eight hectares of land (the equivalent of approximately 11.2 football pitches) with a further 4,000 trees planted as part of the council’s mainstream annual planting programme.
- worked with over 750 volunteers
- planted one kilometre of native hedgerow
- planted two sites with fruit and nut trees to create community orchards
- planted five ‘wet woodland’ sites and six verges/streets
- donated 750 trees to schools, community groups and residents
Local communities have been at the heart of the Coed Caerdydd project’s success so far, and that was particularly true of two new community orchards established during this season.
Both orchard sites were developed after the Coed Caerdydd project team were approached by residents interested in improving their local green spaces at Mill Road Recreation Ground in Ely, and Sanatorium Park in Canton where 30 fruit trees including Cherry, Apple, Pear and Plum have now been planted.
Coed Caerdydd Volunteer Co-ordinator, Chloe Jenkins said: “The timing was great for Sanatorium Park, because we’d also had some interest from local schools about getting pupils involved with planting activities, so we actually surveyed the site with pupils from Fitzalan High School as well as having community groups and pupils from the local primary school helping with the planting. It’s been a real community effort.”
It’s a similar story at Mill Road Recreation Ground where residents wanted something that would help local people feel more connected to the space. The site has recently benefited from changes to the mowing regime which have allowed a wildflower meadow to establish during the summer months but despite being popular with dog-walkers, residents felt there weren’t many interesting features on the site and were concerned about anti-social behaviour.
A survey of the site with residents and Cardiff Rivers Group identified an area of the top field which could be used for an orchard and a range of soft fruit and nut trees, including Hazel and Elder, have been planted.
Chloe Jenkins said: “By listening to community requests and co-designing these spaces with local people we hope it will encourage residents and groups to take ownership of the trees and enjoy look after them for years to come – so far it seems to be working, residents have been in touch with us multiple times since the planting took place, keeping us up to date on how the trees are establishing, reporting any losses. It’s been great to see, and we’re looking forward to heading back to both the sites during the next planting season to get even more trees planted.”