The Knapps, a well-used area of countryside in Kilmacolm, is to be given a new green lung through a woodland creation project over about 16 hectares by Milton Farm Partnership.

The reasons for planting are fourfold: To bring the area into active management, to improve pathways where necessary; to increase biodiversity and to significantly contribute to carbon capture and sequestration.

Understandably some may worry about the change to the landscape, and there is no doubt it will change; however, the partnership has been careful to select broadleaved and native tree species that will work with the surrounding area and merge with existing woodland. Retaining features of the existing landscape is paramount to the plan. It is worth noting that the front two fields will be preserved for future local events.

The benefits of broadleaved trees to biodiversity are numerous. One tree can exist as an entire ecosystem or biome, supporting a myriad of creatures from insects to birds and mammals.

A woodland, in time, becomes a thriving habitat supporting whole communities of plants and animals whilst providing the surrounding environment with clean air and flood prevention through its root system.

While the new trees are taking root it will be necessary to ask dogwalkers to keep dogs on leads within the fenced areas, so the saplings are not damaged. This will be for a short time only until trees as established.  A number of pedestrian gates will be installed in the fence for ease of access.

As well as becoming a haven for biodiversity, the Knapps will retain the right of responsible access for all those who wish to visit. It is a nature-positive project with community and biodiversity at its heart.

Ground works and fencing are starting now with planting due to be completed in May.

By Rona Simpson (of Stanley Wright)