As you may be aware, The National Trust are planning to plant 20 million native trees over the next decade as part of their Woodlands Appeal Scheme. While increasing the overall coverage of trees is important of equal importance is the provenance of these trees. This is why the National Trust have started their own tree nursery in Snowdonia, sourcing seeds from local woodlands to match local conditions (find out more about this topic- check out our article on the subject).
Thus it was a great privilege to spend a day helping towards this rather ambitious goal alongside Dan and Mary from the Snowdonia Society, and Dave Smith – Head National Trust Warden for the Gwynant Valley.
Dan, Mary and I were first tasked with collecting seeds from native woodland tree species within The National Trust owned area of the Aberglaslyn Pass, a truly idyllic corner of Snowdonia which feels otherworldly from the exposed mountainous terrain only a few kilometres north. In the presence of mostly oak, beech, sweet chestnut, and conifer, we gathered about 2000 acorns and lots sweet chestnuts which littered the floor, however it seemed to be a non-mast year for beech nuts, as almost none could be found.
In the afternoon we took our sack load of seeds to Hafod Garegog Tree Nursery, where we met Dave, who showed us the 2000 saplings already growing there only a year since the nursery opened. Here we gave 500 acorns and 36 chestnuts a home for the winter inside trayed pots before they will be planted at various sites across the National Park.
Overall, we were proud of our efforts given the small size of the group, limited time, and the seemingly endless nature of the task. But personally, I found applying such instinctual human behaviours of foraging and nurturing, in aid of a global cause, to be most deeply rewarding.
Article written by placement student