Back in June this year the Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) launched ambitious plans to create 165 acres of new native woodland on land above Gnoll Country Park in Neath. Five months later, following a successful fundraising appeal, the first trees were planted at the site on Saturday 30 November.
Neath people reach for their spades to help tackle the climate crisis.
The 150,000 native trees that the Woodland Trust eventually hopes to plant at Brynau will buffer and protect the small area of ancient wood that already exists there, linking it to the surrounding landscape with new hedges, and of course fighting the effects of climate change by purifying the air, locking up carbon and soaking up excess water which would otherwise run down the hills and contribute to flooding risk in Neath below. The tree planting the Trust aims to undertake across the whole site would capture over 23,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and lock up the carbon in their wood.
Another, novel element of the plan is that parts of the land are now being grazed by a small herd of seven heritage Welsh White cattle, an ancient breed. They will play a key role in increasing the biodiversity of the site, by helping to establish and maintain areas of wood pasture beneficial to lower plant life species. Brynau Wood will become their main home.