Weston ​Tree & Plant ​Group

a community group growing the green canopy of Weston-super-mare


About us

Weston's organisations, councils and communities ​come together to tree the town green.

Our aim is to bring together as many people, groups, organisations and businesses involved and interested in planting trees and other plants to increase tree canopy levels and biodiversity across the town. We think that through collaboration, the benefits to the town will be multiplied.


We invite people across Weston to come together, tell us about their projects and discuss how the group can collaborate and support them to grow.


We want to contribute towards Weston-super-Mare Town Council's commitment to planting and establishing at least 10,000 trees by 2030, and have adopted the Tree Charter.


If you would like to join the Weston Tree and Plant Group please join the mailing list to find out about meetings and events. Find us on Facebook.


Forum panel

A panel of facilitators from across Weston-super-Mare are in place to support and enable the ideas from this community group

  • Anne Maw - Lord Lieutenant of Somerset
  • Rosie Walker – Woodland Trust Regional External Affairs Officer
  • Alex Stone – Forest of Avon Trust Deputy Executive Director
  • Councillor Dot Agassiz – Vice-chair of Town Council Climate Change Working Party
  • Steve Clark – Tree Consultant for Town Council
  • David Agassiz – Weston-super-Mare Civic Society
  • Fay Powell – Weston in Bloom
  • Councillor John Crockford-Hawley – Town Council and North Somerset Council
  • James McCarthy – North Somerset Council Tree Officer


The group consists of passionate members of the community who care about the trees and environment in our local area and want to mitigate climate change and the ecological emergency. You can join us by joining the newsletter to hear about meetings and activities you can attend.


About our trees

In 2014, North Somerset Council carried out a survey to understand the effects and ​values of the urban forest in the region.


The survey demonstrated the trees in Weston provide us with numerous structural and ​functional values such as:


• Carbon sequestration (Carbon absorption)

• The structural value of the tree stock

• Oxygen production

• Rainwater interception - leading to a reduction of flooding risk

• Pollutant interception

• Reducing energy costs

• Reducing urban heating (the Urban Heat Island Effect)


The survey also importantly highlighted that the canopy cover across the town is just ​8.2% and of that 16.3% of that overall percentage is from the Ash species.


Since 2014, the growing awareness of the climate emergency and the prominence of ​Ash Dieback disease has increased our understanding of the value of trees and the ​urgent need to plant more and replace the trees we are losing to support a recovery in ​our ecological networks.


We know that we can’t plant our way out of the climate and ecological crisis, which ​requires societal change on many levels, but planting has multiple positive impacts on ​our climate, our environment and our health.


Weston-super-Mare's Mayor, Councillor Sonia Russe planting Scots Pine at the Water Adventure and Play Park

across weston

North Somerset Council and Weston-super-Mare Town Council announced a climate emergency in 2019.


Carried out in 2022, the Forestry Commission's Canopy Cover Assessment project identified that although ​North Somerset Council's survey revealed the average canopy cover across Weston is just 8.2%, this canopy ​cover varies considerably from ward to ward, here's the breakdown:


  • Wick St Lawrence & St Georges – 3.2%
  • Milton – 5.0%
  • Weston-Super-Mare – 6.0%
  • Worle – 7.6%
  • Winterstoke – 8.0%
  • Kewstoke – 9.6%
  • Hutton & Locking – 15.4%
  • Uphill – 13.8%
  • Hillside – 35.5%.


While this may be considered a disappointing place to start from, it means that efforts can be rapidly ​rewarded with significant improvement in canopy cover over the coming years.


You can view the whole Forest Research Canopy Cover Map here.


The Trees of Milton Road Cemetery and Ellenborough Park West


How we're going to achieve this

Canopy cover


  • Trees intercept rainwater - which reduces the risk of flooding and prevents pollutants from being washed ​down to the sea.
  • The value of urban cooling provided by trees, in the UK, is estimated to be £6.1 billion. (Woodland Trust website)
  • Trees are the key component in green infrastructure they also provide links between our ecological networks ​and green corridors.
  • Trees can support the local economy, because people prefer, to stay longer and more frequently visit shopping ​areas with trees in them.
  • The best way to increase canopy cover and sequester carbon are to protect and keep the trees, woodlands and ​hedgerows that we already have.
  • The next best way is to start planting more trees, hedgerows and woodlands, wherever we can.


The group are actively promoting the growth of tree canopy cover in the town.


Street trees


  • Trees provide shade which also cools streets and urban spaces thereby mitigating the urban heat island effect.
  • Tree-lined streets can raise property values by up to 18% Fewer anti-depressants are prescribed to people who ​live in tree-lined streets.
  • Trees slow the speed of traffic - we drive more slowly in tree-lined streets – increasing safety.
  • The leaves of roadside trees are so good at absorbing pollution that they’ve even been shown to halve pollution ​levels inside the home.


The group are working with North Somerset Council to plant more street trees around the town.


Trees and Wellbeing


  • The air that we breathe is produced by trees – they create the oxygen that supports our life.
  • Humans automatically breathe more deeply when they are in the presence of trees – they elicit the relaxation ​response in our bodies, and we instinctively breathe more slowly. Our heart beats more slowly, our blood ​pressure becomes lower and our brain waves alter.
  • Trees emit invisible chemicals called phytoncides that reduce stress hormones like cortisol, lower blood ​pressure and improve immunity (Leaf of Life)
  • Hospital wards with views of trees experience faster rates of recovery in their patients and fewer complications
  • Trees provide shade - they provide protection from harmful ultraviolet radiation, helping to reduce the ​occurrence of skin cancer.
  • The more street trees there are in an area the fewer anti-depressants are prescribed. It is estimated that UK ​street trees reduce the amount of anti-depressants prescribed to the value of £16.3 million.


The group believe people exercise more and feel better around trees.


Green social prescribing


  • Forest bathing – 'Shirin-yoku' – reduces stress, anger, and feelings of depression.
  • People exercise more and feel better around trees. (Woodland Trust)
  • Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature.


The group are working to promote green social prescribing in the town. Please get in touch if you can help!




projects

A new tree nursery is being developed at a site in the Maltlands area

of the Winterstoke ward.


Assisted by Weston Town Council, community members are currently

working with North Somerset Council to transform the disused space

next to Maltlands Play Area into a community tree nursery for Weston-super-Mare.


Please see our progress and get involved on our Facebook Page.


We anticipate that this will become a thriving community-led space to grow and nurture trees for planting in the future.


The tree nursery has the potential to become

invaluable to the town's planting commitments and

enable rare native species to be grown locally.


The trees grown could be used to create woodlands,

hedgerows and orchards or they can be planted in

dedicated green space such as local parks, school

grounds, private farmland, community gardens and

private household gardens.


Partnerships have already been made with groups

such as Friends of Grove Park, Keepers Gate Forest

School and Osprey Outdoors to help establish the site,

gain volunteers, share skills and collaborate with wider

community initiatives.


To learn more about community tree nurseries, see Forest Research's investigation into how community tree nurseries (CTNs) can contribute to satisfying the increasing demand for trees

across Britain.

Annual Events Calendar 2024

January

• Seed swaps – Sedgemoor Seed Library, Burnham-on-Sea Library ​(Permanent seed-swapping library).

• Weston Tree and Plant group meeting– Wednesday 17th January ​2024.

• Big Garden Bird Wath – 26th – 28th January 2024.

February

• Glastonbury Seed Swap – February 11th, 2024.

• Bristol Seed Swap – 11th February 2024.

March

• World Wildlife Day – 3rd March 2024.

• National Social Prescribing Day – 14th March 2024.

• Global recycling Day – 22nd March 2024.

• Weston Tree and Plant group meeting – 20th March 2024.

• Trees Love Care – 20th March – 21st September 2024.

• World Tree Day – Thursday 21st March 2024.

• International Day of Forests – Thursday 21st March 2024.

April

• Community garden Week – 1st – 7th April 2024.

• Spring in your step – April 1st – 30th 2024.

• Earth Day – Monday 22nd April 2024.






May

• No Mow May – 1st – 31st May 2024.

• International Compost week – 5th – 11th May 2024.

• Weston Tree and Plant group meeting – Wednesday 15th May 2024.

• National Hedgerow Week – 6th – 12th May 2024.

• Urban Tree Festival – 11th – 19th May 2024.

• International Day for Biological Diversity – Wednesday 22nd May 2024.

June

• World Environment Day – Wednesday 5th June 2024.

• The Great Big Green week – 8th – 16th June 2024.

July

• Weston Tree and Plant group meeting – Wednesday 17th July 2024.

August

• National Allotments Week – Monday 12th – Sunday 18th August 2024.

September

• Weston Tree and Plant group meeting – Wednesday 18th September ​2024.

• Seed Collecting Season - 23rd September – 23rd October 2024.

• Great British Beach Clean - tbc

October

• World Mental Health Day - 10th October 2024.

• Seed Collecting Season – until 23rd October 2024.

November

• Weston Tree and Plant group meeting – Wednesday 20th November ​2024.

• National Tree Week – 27th November – 5th December 2024.

December

• World Soil Day – 5th December 2024.





Links and Resources







Facebook Circle Logo

Promise of trees Group member By Peter Archer


Planting a tree does more than combat climate change, it also helps create communities


Tender in youth, they reach up with the promise of growth. Roots form, binding the soil and bringing together those who look on.


At first glance, trees provide a welcome detour in a townscape dominated by bricks and stone and cars. But, from the beginning, they have a calming presence and soon display their full natural beauty.


Venerated and through time bestowed with mystical properties, trees are now praised as “miracle machines” in the long overdue fight back against climate change. They lock up and store harmful carbon, ​while removing pollution, improving air quality and producing the oxygen we breathe.


However, they have much more to offer. Increasingly, we are realising that planting a tree not only nurtures the environment, it cultivates a sense of community and feeling of belonging which many of us ​surely crave.


Caring for newly planted trees – watering and protecting them from vandals – promotes togetherness and is a shared purpose. Simply planting or adopting a tree empowers the community. It becomes a ​community-led project, bonding neighbours who may otherwise not get to know each other.


Taking possession and responsibility for a tree in your neighbourhood is about standing up for community and what belongs to us all.


Sadly, vulnerable saplings are sometimes vandalised by the disaffected. Such seemingly wanton damage evokes rage and disbelief. But emotions

must be contained and energy channelled into building a greater sense of community.


Remember, when we harm a tree, we harm ourselves.


Planting trees is an important part of place-making. It enhances neighbourhoods and makes your street a nicer – and better – place to live.

Trees lining a street improve the appearance of housing and can boost property values. Also, motorists tend to reduce speed in tree-lined streets, which muffle traffic noise.


Urban architecture in shopping areas and business parks is softened by trees, which lift the spirits and enhance an otherwise everyday experience. People prefer working and shopping in areas planted ​with trees, so they work more productively or shop for longer, boosting business.

Shop staff and business owners can be enlisted to adopt or sponsor a tree, widening and strengthening community involvement.


By encouraging civic pride, tree-planting can have knock-on effects. For example, it can reduce littering, or result in litter-picking, as residents care more for their surroundings. Better interaction with ​neighbours can also raise mutual respect and improve relationships.


As trees mature they attract wildlife. They provide a habitat for birds, insects and squirrels, restoring nature and bringing a little of the countryside into town.


Trees make us feel good. Even if we are not consciously aware of it, they improve emotional wellbeing, as well as physical health. Chemicals are emitted that reduce stress, lower blood pressure and ​improve immunity.

And if we feel good, we can enjoy our surroundings and celebrate being part of a caring community.

Planting a tree not only nurtures the environment, it cultivates a sense of community