1,400 natives trees will be planted in the Lake district to combat flooding
More than 90 people are helping plant 1,400 native woodland trees including oak, birch, hazel, rowan and crab apple, at five sites today, in 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, which was badly hit when Storm Desmond brought record rainfall to the area in December 2015.
Some 13½ inches 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.
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It feels like important work now, to better protect our homes from future flooding
Emily Brooks, Braithwaite Resident
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, which was inundated with boulders, silt and debris from one large landslide and several smaller ones during Storm Desmond.
The planting will explore how a different approach to farming upstream can slow water and reduce the risk of landslides.
Storm Desmond and other major storms have caused damage to both houses and the landscape
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.
More than 90 residents and volunteers will work to rejuvenate ancient woodland in the area
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 Lake District is visited by millions of people every year. But the recent floods show just how fragile a landscape it is.
"The 2015 floods caused millions of pounds worth of damage, leaving scars on the landscape that are yet to heal.
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Trees will also be planted on Scafell Pike and Lake Windermere to create a wildlife corridor
"With major storms occurring more frequently, we're working with farmers and local residents to look at ways of making the Lakes more resilient to flooding."
The National Trust is among the organisation supporting natural flood defence measures, such as planting trees, and the Government has committed £15 million to implementing such schemes.
But experts have warned the most extreme weather would still overwhelm natural defences, and farmers whose land is hit by flooding say they are not a universal solution and must be used alongside other measures to improve flood resilience in rural areas.
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