Castle Minibus has agreed an annual sum to plant and support the planting of trees and ongoing maintenance of approx. 1500 trees over the next three years in partnership with the FSC (Field Studies Council). The immediate plan is to fund three seasons, planting around 500 trees per year and subsequent maintenance, at the FSC’s Preston Montford site in Shropshire. Once planted the Field Studies Council will assume ‘ownership’ of the trees and will manage the resultant woodland sustainably. After the initial three years the planting project could be extended to further planting at the same site or at Blencathra in the Lake District.

The FSC has created a phased plan for the long term planting success of Castle’s trees. This includes an initial beating up, a forestry term for the replacement of unsuccessful newly planted trees or dead young trees. As well as dealing with any issues that may have arisen during the last growing season such as weed and animal controls. Although beat ups replace existing stock rather than adding immediately to the total tree count they are a crucial part of sustainable woodland management. This initial establishment process not only identifies an issues it also allows for a count of the number of surviving trees from the previous planting season.

Planting for landscape, wild life and native species

The FSC are planting an original wild wood mix;

20% Small- leaved Lime ( Tilia cordata)

10% Wych Elm ( Ulmus glabra)

10% Pendunculate Oak ( Quercus Robur )

5% Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea)

5% Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)

5% Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)

5% Field Maple (Acer campestre)

5% Aspen (Populus tremula)

5% Silver birch (Betula pendula)

5% Downy Birch (Betula pubescens)

5% Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)

5% Rowen (Sorbus aucuparia)

5% Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

10% Wood shrubs :

Wild service (Sorbus torminalis)

Midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata)

Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus)

Hazel (Corylus avellana)

Blackthorn ( Prunus spinosa)

Eldar   (Sambucus nigra)

Gueldar Rose (Viburnum opulus)

Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus)

Broom (C. scoparius)

Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

The actual % mix planted will reflect the landscaping and grading elements of the project to ensure that there are soft borders to planting rather than abrupt edges. The trees will be spaced to require little gaping or spacing in the future, but to allow for dragging up, sculpting and thinning of high order trees in the planting ‘block’. Understorey planting is also important to ensure biodiversity and provide effective protection of wips and soil during the establishment phase.

The Beat Up for Castle’s planting has a particularly positive side as it engages local volunteer support including a local youth group as well as local FSC staff. The trees will not be located near paths or boundaries which would incur additional costs to the FSC estate such cutting back or clearing away decay cycles.

Chris Maynard, Managing Director of Castle Minibus commented ‘Whilst we can’t accurately calculate the carbon emissions from the business or the vehicles we rent, lease and sell we can make a contribution to off-set our carbon footprint. I am very pleased to be able to fund the planting and maintenance of these 1500 trees with the FSC who will not only oversee the initial planting but the maintenance and growing success of our block in Shropshire.

Mark Bolland, Director of Infrastructure at FSC commented ‘We are very pleased to be receiving this funding from Castle Minibus to help us not only plant more trees but support our work in helping people learn about, protect and enjoy the environment’

Castle Minibus will be sharing more information about their tree planting project as they have it. But to learn more about Castle Minibus visit or The Field Studies Council visit