Tree Planting for Climate Change

As a responsible tour operator and signatory of Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency and the Glasgow Declaration, we recognise that carbon emissions are a major factor affecting climate change. A 1.5°C increase in global temperatures will lead to a global shift in our weather patterns and biodiversity. This, in turn, will negatively impact us all, from what we eat to what we do. The frightening thing is that we are on course for a 3°C increase. This is a global crisis that requires all of us to act immediately.

Carbon reduction

The current IPCC advice states there is a need to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030 to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming. Through our Climate Action Plan, we have committed to helping achieve this through the delivery of transparent, measurable and increasing reductions in the total carbon emissions from our UK adventure holidays and our wider business operations.

The first step was to measure our current carbon footprint. As well as giving you transparency on the environmental impact of your adventure, this carbon project gave us a benchmark from which we can now work to reduce emissions. But that’s only part of the story.

Carbon offsetting

We don’t believe that carbon offsetting is a silver bullet: ultimately we must all reduce our carbon emissions if we are to halt the climate crisis. But we do believe that mitigating carbon emissions by tree planting for climate change is a positive step to take alongside this work.

That’s why we committed to plant one tree for every traveller on our small group adventures and tailor-made activity holidays in the UK. And because we’ve done our carbon measurements, we know that one tree far exceeds what is needed to offset the emissions of your low carbon adventure holiday.

Creating local woodland

We have partnered with the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley National Landscape (AONB) to support a new woodland initiative. By planting native trees in our local area of North East Wales, we can help to combat climate change, improve biodiversity and create positive benefits for our local community.

Almost 2 acres of land within the Moel Famau Country Park had been designated for woodland regeneration. Moel Famau Country Park is a hugely popular area, attracting around 200,000 visitors annually. It’s also an area of significant environmental importance, requiring a delicate balance between managing the natural habitat and enabling visitors to enjoy the area.

The designated woodland area, Ty’n-y-Pistyll, which means House Near the Spring in Welsh, is located on the lower slopes of the north western edge of the park. Fenced off from the common, the boundary of the site is surrounded by mature trees including Ash, Oak and Rowan. The site benefited from the clearance of bracken, which was dominating the central area, making it a prime location for young native trees to thrive.

“We are delighted to be working with Adventure Tours UK to support conservation work within Moel Famau Country Park. Trees in the landscape are critical not just in absorbing carbon from our atmosphere – but for their biodiversity value, for slowing the flow of water from our uplands and for their aesthetic landscape value. This project brings together sustainable tourism with sustainable land management in the AONB in a really positive way.” David Shiel, Area Manager for the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley National Landscape

Since 2021 we have been supporting the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley National Landscape to plant a range of native trees in Ty’n-y-Pistyll. The chosen tree species included Birch, Oak, Rowan, Holly, Hazel, Hawthorn, Wild Cherry and Elder.

The work we do

Back in November 2021, our team and a group of National Landscape Countryside Rangers planted the first 185 native trees. As the fastest-growing, Birch was the main species planted to provide a nursery environment for the slower growing species and to help shade out competing species, such as bracken. The remaining trees we planted were a mix of Oak, Wild Cherry and Crab Apple, along with a few Hawthorn and Holly for shrub cover.

In June 2022 we revisited the site to tend to our young saplings, which we were delighted to see were thriving well.

In November 2022 we returned again to plant our next batch of trees. This time we planted 150 trees in total, including: 10 Sessile Oak, 10 Rowan, 20 Small Leaf Lime, 15 Spindle, 30 Field Maple, 20 Hawthorne, 20 Downy Birch, 7 Wild Pear, 7 Crab Apple, 9 Wild Cherry and 2 Holly! And finally in November 2023 we planted the last round of 150 trees, a further mix of native species.

Each summer we return to Ty’n-y-Pistyll to clear the bracken regrowth to ensure the young saplings receive plenty of light to continue thriving. We’re committed to continuing this maintenance until the trees are tall and strong enough to survive without our intervention.

Tree planting for climate change & biodiversity

As well as tree planting for climate change, small woodlands provide many benefits to wildlife. A young woodland like this, with mixed native species can help to sequester 300 – 400 plus tonnes of carbon per hectare.

Rewilding in this way, with a mix of native species, also creates an environment in which many different species can flourish. As a result, the Ty’n-y-Pistyll woodland will be doing much more than offsetting our carbon emissions, it will also be improving the biodiversity of the area. This is important to support a healthy ecosystem: protecting water sources, encouraging pollinators and reducing disease are just some of the benefits. Read more about the importance of biodiversity here.

Encouraging wildlife

The Ty’n-y-Pistyll woodland is already beginning to create an important habitat for a number of native wildlife species. As it continues to grow the woodland will provide food and habitat for hundreds of insects, including caterpillars of moths such as the Angle Shades and the Buff Tip. In turn these provide a food source for birds and bats.

Birds that may be attracted to the new woodland habitat include Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts and Tree Pipits. Holes in the trees will provide the perfect nesting space for Woodpeckers and the bark will provide habitat for a whole range of mosses and lichens.

The early-planted Birch trees should reach maturity in 15-20 years. While the slower-growing Oak trees will typically start to produce acorns at around 40-50 years old, reaching peak maturity between 80-120 years old.

Excitingly we’re already starting to see regeneration, new saplings beginning to form in the areas we clear each year of invasive bracken. Alongside this we’re also seeing a wider variety of wild flowers evident each summer, including a plethora of foxgloves amongst the young trees.

How can you get involved?

Simply by booking a trip you will be contributing to this incredible project – it’s as easy as that!

We plant one tree for every guest who joins our small group adventures or tailor-made active holidays. Whether you’re booking for one person or 10, we will plant a tree for each and every person that travels.

If you‘d like to do even more, we offer a range of ways to increase your contribution to this exciting woodland initiative:

  • Donate an additional tree: when you book online you can choose to add extra trees to your booking
  • Become a Tree Care volunteer: young trees need looking after and keeping the area clear of competing species is important while they become established. Working with the National Landscape Rangers, we hold maintenance days each summer where you’re welcome to join us on site to help care for the young trees

Sign up to our newsletter for all the latest woodland news, including dates for woodland maintenance.

At Adventure Tours UK, we set out to create the kind of breaks people like us go wild for. People who get their thrills in the outdoors and want to care for it too. Who want to disconnect from the daily grind and reconnect with nature. If you’re in search of adventure, you’ll find it with us.


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