Members of the 7th Darlington Sea Scouts joined forces with a community volunteer group in Barningham to plant trees on Friday. Barningham Net Zero Community Interest Company has been undertaking tree and hedge planting over the past three winters. This year, planting has been undertaken along the boundaries of a field known as the “Bull Acre”, which is owned by Barningham Parish.
Thirty-three children, ranging from 4 to 14 years old, came with their scout leaders and some parents for a day visit to Barningham. All of the kids had an opportunity to plant some trees and do a local nature walk, followed by a hot lunch and tree-themed activities in Barningham Village Hall. Some enjoyed it so much they have offered to come back to help again. Mike Peach, a Barningham Net Zero Director, commented: “The children were a credit to their scout troop, their parents and themselves.” Their good behaviour, enthusiasm and engagement in the task made them a pleasure to work with.
The Bull Acre is a field to the north of Barningham, which has been owned by the Parish since at least the 18th century. Historically, the tenant of the field was responsible for providing a parish bull for the use of village farmers. By 1968, it was agreed that demand for the bull was negligible and the requirement for keeping one was abandoned. It is now used for grazing of four rams.
The new planting at the Bull Acre includes a copse of 150 trees along the east side and a 100-metre hedge along the north boundary. The plantings are mixed deciduous species with the copse consisting of oak, hornbeam, aspen, silver birch, field maple, rowan and wild cherry. These will provide food and homes for a variety of insects, birds and mammals. The work complements plantings undertaken in an adjacent field in 2022 to provide new habitat corridors, which allow wildlife to move more freely over longer distances with better protection against predators and more diverse food sources. Continuous habitat corridors also enhance the breeding pool by connecting populations, helping to keep species healthier in an increasingly fragmented environment.
A substantial tree planting programme is needed in Teesdale to replace the 30% of tree cover lost in the past 50 years. The Barningham planting group started under the tutelage of Trees for Teesdale, organised by Geoff and Carole King, who have helped a number of local village groups and are currently working with Barnard Castle School. The Bull Acre planting work was funded by Durham County Council from the Neighbourhood Budgets of local Councillors George Richardson and James Rowlandson, and the National Lottery Community Fund.
Barningham Net Zero (www.barninghamnetzero.com ) formed in April 2020, the primary aim being to reduce energy costs for local residents and businesses and work towards a net zero carbon footprint for the village, along with activities which have an environmental benefit. In addition to tree planting, we are currently undertaking a lightbulb replacement initiative to reduce resident energy costs and lighting associated carbon emissions.