£2.5 million project under way to convert Imerys' china
clay waste tips to woodland
Work to create more than 339 hectares of new native broadleaf
woodland on former china clay waste tips in mid-Cornwall is
well under way thanks to a partnership between Imerys and
Natural England (previously English Nature) and supported
by investment from Objective One, Defra and other partners.
Along with the creation of large areas of new woodland, the
project will see over 400 hectares of existing woodland brought
into sustainable management, with species such as conifers
and rhododendron removed and replaced with tree species that
are native to Cornwall.
The £2.5 million four year project, which is due for
completion in 2008, will see a total of 650,000 oak, ash and
hazel trees planted to restore land that will become a rich
ecosystem. 7.5 miles of new access routes will allow the public
to see the woodlands grow and develop, providing a valuable
asset for local tourism.
The project is already two thirds complete and by the end
of May a total of 476,000 trees will have been planted by
the 30-strong team working full-time on the scheme. Planted
areas will be recognisable as woodland within five years and
established within 10 years.
Led by Natural England, the project has been supported by
investment of over £1 million from Objective One, £900,000
from Defra and £450,000 from Imerys along with an additional
£90,000 from English Nature, Restormel Borough Council,
The Forestry Commission and Cornwall County Council.
Cornish school children have played their part in transforming
the landscape into a green oasis. Last October 300 primary
school pupils from the area were invited to get involved with
the tree planting. There are plans to repeat the opportunity
later in the autumn for school children and scout groups from
across the region to get hands on experience of making a positive
contribution towards the natural world around them.
The China Clay Woodland Project is part of Imerys'
long-term commitment to return the land used during their
mining operations to other uses. A project completed in 2004
to restore areas of lowland heathland on areas which were
once china clay waste tips has already been hugely successful.
Together the heathlands and woodlands projects will create
a striking natural environment of green, purple and brown
against the striking bright blue pools on former clay workings.
Richard Bellamy, China Clay Woodland Project Manager, is
delighted with the transformation of the landscape that has
already been achieved: "The tree planting teams
have certainly been busy and residents and visitors to the
area will no doubt have seen the endless rows of green plastic
tubes popping up everywhere. It's important that we
protect the young saplings from being eaten by animals so
the protective collars will stay in place until the trees
can survive without the protection.
"Later in the summer we will be opening the first
stretch of permissive footpath at Penrose, near Penwithick
and hope that local residents and visitors will enjoy having
access to some stunning scenery and the opportunity to see
the landscape springing into life to become something truly
This summer will also see the opening of approximately five
miles of permissive footpath at the Gilleys Mica Dam at Whitemoor
near Roche. The figure-of-eight footpath will be open to walkers,
cyclists and horse riders with views over Goss Moor.
Ivor Bowditch, Imerys Community & Public Relations Manager,
said: "Imerys Minerals are constantly seeking ways
to lessen the impact the china clay industry has on the landscape
and The Woodlands Project is part of our long term commitment
to restore the land for other uses. Once established, the
woodlands will be a tremendous asset for wildlife and the
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership,
said: "This scheme demonstrates how partnership
between the public and private sector can greatly enhance
part of Cornwall's beautiful environment. It is also
an example of how the rehabilitation of this former industrial
landscape is a vital building block in the economic and community
regeneration of the area – with a better environment
comes greater social and economic confidence and with it increased
business activity and employment."
For further information please contact John Casey on 01872
276276/07796 615864 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in the China Clay Woodland Project
through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439