08/01/2023 Hempsted Infill Site tree planting
Landfill site operator Enovert own the 350 acre landfill site at Hempsted, which they closed in July 2019 and capped off with topsoil.. Their plans for the restoration of the area consist of turning it into an Energy Park including a solar panel farm, and with the potential for wind and biomass power generation in the future – an Ecopark. The site extends from Llanthony road to the River Severn.
Part of the site remains in use as a Household recycling area, operated by Ubico, and around 14,000 tonnes of garden waste from here is processed annually on an adjacent composting area for re-use or sale. A planning application has been made for the Solar Farm element which may eventually deliver 15MW of Green energy. Gloucester City Council are backing the whole scheme as it would make a significant contribution towards Gloucester City Council plan to make the whole area carbon neutral by 2050 and will bring new jobs and investment to the area.
The site prior to July 2019 Image source, Getty Images
Planting has already commenced to create a new woodland area of around 250 acres, Hempsted Woods, which will eventually total more than 100,000 trees to provide a new natural amenity for local people, as well as fuel for biomass coppicing and providing opportunities for businesses to offset their carbon though planting trees
As a part of this in January 2022, GVCV planted some 300 sapling trees. Unfortunately we then had a record breaking heatwave in the summer and a number of the tree died, basically of thirst, notwithstanding that each tree had been mulched around in an attempt to protect them.
GVCV task on 08 January 2023 was to replace the trees which had died, to tidy up the trees and supports which had been displaced by the strong winds in this area and to add further trees to extend the planted area all under the hands-on guidance of the GWT warden.
The site as it is today – dramatically different from the pre 2019 picture.
As can be seen from the picture the volunteers needed to be well wrapped up, the absolute temperature was not too low but the strong wind swept across the whole site throughout the day But give it 10 or 20 years and we will have produced an effective wind break.
The intention was for random planting, to imitate nature, but there was a degree of selection locating high canopy trees such as Oak and Hornbeam, interspersed with lower height Field Maple and Cherry and with moisture loving Hazel on the slope down to the stream. Each tree was given a supporting cane and a protective sleeve to deter rabbits, deer etc. Unfortunately there was no compost available to mulch the roots,
A newly planted whip, duly supported and protected and with the grass cleared away from the base.
Lunch al fresco
We are programmed to return to this site in April and, if we are to produce a forest, on many other dates.