PIONEERING work being done at a woodmeadow between York and Selby has been praised by a VIP visitor.
The “inspirational and ground-breaking work” at the award-winning Three Hagges Woodmeadow, just south of Escrick, is a blueprint for everyone to follow, according to leading Conservative peer.
Lord Richard Benyon, the Minister for Rural Affairs, planted a special crab apple tree in a new Platinum Jubilee Orchard at the woodmeadow and praised the “magnificent achievement” of the Woodmeadow Trust in transforming 25 acres of arable land at Escrick Park into a beautiful haven for flowers and wildlife.
He said: “It has been incredibly uplifting to witness at first-hand what has been achieved here in just ten years. It is truly inspiring and it was a treat to meet so many enthusiastic volunteers who are committed to creating something very special.
“There’s no doubt that the natural world is under pressure in the UK, and across the globe, right now. This splendid woodmeadow is reversing this decline, locking up carbon and creating an environment where nature can flourish in all its glory.
“What is so very special is that the Yorkshire public can see what has been achieved here for free for all the family. The global pandemic has put a strain on the nation’s mental health – and there is no doubt that a visit to this peaceful and beautiful haven will lift the spirits.
“Three Hagges Woodmeadow is a template for others to follow across the country, a classic example of how to create a woodmeadow swiftly, sensitively and imaginatively. I want to clone this and replicate it in every county in the UK.
“At the same time, the educational role of projects like Three Hagges Woodmeadow is absolutely crucial and I am delighted to hear how Yorkshire schools visit the woodmeadow on a regular basis.
“The original 25 acres of arable land had no bio-diversity and no ability to capture carbon, which is so harmful to the earth’s atmosphere. Reversing this and creating a woodmeadow which is a stunning mosaic of nature in all its glory is a glorious statement of hope for the future.
“As a result, I want to make sure that what we see here can fit into grant schemes in a sensible and coherent way. We all have a duty of care to our wonderful planet. Three Hagges Woodmeadow is a wonderful example of this care in action.”
Rosalind Forbes Adam, founder of the Three Hagges Woodmeadow Trust, said: “It was a tremendous privilege to welcome Lord Benyon to our woodmeadow. His passion for nature was there for us all to see and it was truly humbling to listen to his kind and generous words from him about what we have achieved.
“Lord Benyon’s seal of approval gives us the confidence and the will to redouble our efforts to make our woodmeadow a haven for birds, insects and flowers and to share what we have achieved with the general public. His idea of rolling out woodmeadows in every county across the country endorses our initiative to create a Woodmeadow Network. We started work on the woodmeadow in 2012, so this year is our 10th anniversary and we are determined to make it an anniversary to remember.”
The crab apple tree planted by Lord Benyon was grown from a seed of local provenance of the nearby Skipwith Common.
On the night before he planted the crab apple tree, Lord Benyon spoke to more than 250 guests and volunteers at a special celebration event.