Increasing tree cover
Tree cover in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is very low compared to the national average of about 9%. This is due to historical and current land use, and that most land in the national park is in private ownership. We currently have about 4.3% of land under woodland.
In 1995 the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority published its first Dales Woodland Strategy (1995-2020). At that time, the Dales Woodland Forum, a partnership of landowners, charities and public bodies, advised on the strategic approach to trees and woodlands. Over the course of the last 25 years, and with continued guidance from the forum, three revisions have been undertaken and over the last 25 years the strategy has delivered 2,200ha of new woodland.
Dales Woodland Strategy 2020-2030
In December 2020 members of the Authority voted to adopt the new ten-year ‘Dales Woodland Strategy’. This new strategy is underpinned by an action plan and sets an ambition to enhance the landscape by creating 6,000 ha of woodland habitat in the Yorkshire Dales National Park by 2030. That would take the area of the National Park covered by woodland from 4.3% now to 7%.
The strategy aims to help farmers in the Dales take advantage of increasing opportunities to plant and manage woodland over the next ten years, helping to maintain the viability of their farm businesses as well as achieving biodiversity gains and other benefits across the Dales such as carbon sequestration, natural flood management, and improving water quality. The strategy also covers managing existing woodland, trees outside woodlands, and responding the new and emerging threats to trees and woodlands.
You can find the Dales Woodland Strategy here
Supporting landowners to create more native broadleaved and mixed woodland in the National Park is one of the objectives agreed by the Authority and a wide range of local partner organisations in the National Park Management Plan 2019-24.
How we can help with new planting
The Authority can advise on planting trees as well as managing woodlands. We work closely with our partners (such as the Forestry Commission, Woodland Trust and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust) to find grants, draw up plans and provide advice for landowners, as well as advising on suitable contractors to contact.
Woodland as a positive part of the landscape
Here at the National Park Authority, we really want to encourage the creation of woodlands and plantations to be more than just increasing tree cover, but for new woodlands to contribute positively to the landscape character and scenery of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. We have produced a guide to woodland siting and design that should be useful if you are considering planting new woodland, or making alterations to existing woodlands. Following the guidelines will ensure that your woodland design fits into the existing landscape.
Can we help?
If you are considering planting new woodland or making alterations to existing woodlands, please contact us to see how we can help.