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Schoolchildren today planted the first of 660,000 trees in England’s largest forest for more than 30 years.

Project Manager Andy Howard told the group of Year 5 (9-10 year-old) pupils: “For the rest of your lives, you will be able to see these trees growing. As you grow up, the trees will grow with you.”

Mr Howard has worked closely with the local population and has been “staggered” by the support for the scheme, which will create new mountain bike trails, improved access to a bouldering site and opportunities for forest education.

Geoff Tong, Deputy Headteacher at Glendale Middle School, said: “It’s very exciting to have the largest forest for a generation here. Lots of our children live on farms in the area and it is right on their doorstep. As a rural school, they have more opportunities to get outside and really enjoyed getting involved in the planting. We will be more involved as the site develops, especially looking at the biodiversity aspects.”

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