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'Mass-planting' trees in Lake District for flood defence

Trees will hopefully protect against floods Credit: PA

Hundreds of trees are being planted in the Lake District in a "mass planting" to help reduce flooding and restore woodlands, the National Trust said.

More than 90 people are helping plant 1,400 native woodland trees including oak, birch, hazel, rowan and crab apple, at five sites on Friday.

It will be the first mass planting the trust has attempted in the national park.

It is hoped that as the trees grow, they will help prevent the run-off of rainwater and reduce flooding in the Lake District.

Grasmere was badly flooded during Storm Desmond Credit: PA

The region was badly hit when Storm Desmond brought record rainfall to the area in December 2015.

Some 34.1cm of rain fell in just over 24 hours on Honiston Pass, Borrowdale, during Storm Desmond, with the extreme rainfall made more likely by climate change, scientific analysis has shown.

The storm flooded homes, devastated farmland and hit transport links, and left the National Trust with a £1 million clean-up bill for land and property it owns and manages.

More than 500 trees will be planted in the Coledale valley around two miles upstream of the village of Braithwaite.

Ancient woodland in the Lakes Credit: PA

Braithwaite resident Emily Brooks said: "I'm really pleased to be planting trees above Braithwaite to help to reduce the impact that extreme rainfall has had on our village.

"It feels like important work now, to better protect our homes from future flooding."

At Close Head Coppice, Hoathwaite, Coniston, around 600 trees will be planted to help restore 10 acres of ancient woodland.

Smaller numbers of trees will also be planted on Scafell Pike, regenerating an old area of woodland pasture on the main path to England's highest peak, at Fell Foot, Lake Windermere, to create wildlife corridors and at Glencoyne Park, Ullswater.

Mike Innerdale, assistant director of operations for the National Trust, said: "This is a real community effort, with dozens of volunteers helping to plant trees - restoring important wood pasture habitats and slow the flow of storm water off the fells.

The Government has committed £15 million to implementing such schemes.