Two hundred saplings of native trees were planted at Gloucester Services northbound site this week (Feb 1) by volunteers – including Services staff and local residents.
They join nearly 1,000 trees native to the UK, traditional Gloucestershire fruit trees, hedgerows, a wildflower meadow and orchard which were planted on the site last year, as part of the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust’s Growing Communities project.
Mark Gale from the Gateway Trust, which works in partnership with Gloucester Services, said: “Since the northbound services opened, local volunteers led by Paul Stepney and Clark Clevely have been working hard to transform the four acres of very exposed landscape by creating a wildlife haven as well as a productive orchard. The trees and hedgerows will act as wind breaks, attract and shelter wildlife and create a wildlife corridor – buzzards and even peregrine falcons have been spotted on the land.
“Eventually, the orchard fruits will be harvested for produce to be used in the Services kitchens for seasonal signature dishes to raise funds for our local communities. Working outdoors, planting and nurturing is proving to be great, practical experience for many local unemployed people who learn skills and knowledge as well as team-working, helping them to find jobs as a result.
“The Growing Communities project, which is part-funded by Grundon, gives people fantastic opportunities to learn these skills. Now, 200 more trees will be taking root on the site thanks to volunteers from Matson and Robinswood Residents Group and Matson Gateway, The Conservation Volunteers, Gloucester Services staff, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and GL Communities ‘Dig Deep’ project.”