National Trust and Yorkshire Water’s nature-restoration programme receives £1million funding from the White Rose Forest 

11 December 2023

Landscapes for Water launched with airlift of 45,000 tree tubes onto moorland edge

Landscapes for Water, an ambitious new programme of moorland restoration and woodland creation across the South Pennines by the National Trust and Yorkshire Water, has been able to break ground this month, thanks to considerable funding from the White Rose Forest, the Community Forest for North and West Yorkshire.

A first tranche of 45,000 tree tubes and stakes were airlifted from the Buckstones car park onto sites around March Haigh reservoir on 16th November, ready for tree planting of resilient native species in the new year. 

This helicopter flight marks the start of the Landscapes for Water programme: a five-year plan that will contribute to restoring the landscapes of the South Pennines. Focusing on large areas of National Trust and Yorkshire Water landholdings across the South Pennines, it aims to protect unique habitats and wildlife, heal climate harm, and deliver flood risk resilience for downstream communities.

The programme will do this by creating native broadleaved woodland, restoring peatlands and installing natural flood management solutions such as leaky dams. Working with tenant farmers and commoners of the moor, together with the community as well as various funding organisations, the programme will deliver for nature, climate and people over the next five years.

In all, 350 hectares of native trees (around 300,000) will be planted around the edges of moorland, mostly in small valleys, called cloughs. These will soak up surface water, prevent flooding further downstream, and protect riverbanks, and help to grow the White Rose Forest in West Yorkshire.

Funding for woodland creation has come from the White Rose Forest via their Trees for Climate grants programme, part of the Government’s Nature for Climate fund. By 2025, the White Rose Forest partnership is aiming to plant seven million trees across North and West Yorkshire, which will help protect and improve the natural environment and local communities.

Guy Thompson, Programme Director for the White Rose Forest, said: “The Government funding we can provide to all landowners across North and West Yorkshire is helping to plant trees where they are needed the most. Trees and woodland are vital for our environment, biodiversity, economy, industry, and the health and wellbeing of our communities. Trees give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and provide essential habitats for wildlife. New woodland carefully placed in a rural river valley will, over time, help reduce flooding in the towns and cities further downstream.”

Jess Yorke, the National Trust’s project lead for the Landscapes for Water programme, said “We are very grateful for the support from the White Rose Forest and are thrilled to have been able to begin preparations for tree planting in the March Haigh area.

“The Landscapes for Water programme is ambitious, but we believe landscape scale work like this is vital to protect the unique habitats, wildlife and communities of the South Pennines. We are looking forward to the start of tree planting in the new year and will be reaching out to members of the local community to join us for planting days when this begins.”

Hazel Earnshaw, lead countryside and woodland advisor for Yorkshire Water, said: “Together, Yorkshire Water and the National Trust are the largest landowners in Yorkshire. We have a responsibility to the people and wildlife that live in our catchments to restore our uplands to turn them back into carbon sinks too.

“Putting nature-based solutions in the ground now means long term benefits to our customers and society, and tree planting forms part of our aim of becoming carbon net zero by 2030. We are proud to be working on this project with the National Trust.”

For more information on Landscapes for Water see: Landscapes for Water | Yorkshire | National Trust

–  END –

Notes to editor:

  • Between 2023 and 2030, the Landscapes for Water program will be delivering tree planting, natural flood management, upland restoration and wildlife habitat creation across multiple sites in the South Pennines.
  • Landscapes for Water is a joint programme between National Trust and Yorkshire Water, as part of their Common Cause partnership which aims to make Yorkshire’s water catchments more resilient and more beautiful as well as delivering benefits for nature, climate and for people.
  • Please note that Landscapes for Water is a ‘programme’ (not a project) and should have a lowercase ‘f’ in ‘for’.
  • The tree tubes we are using are made of plastic. We will be reusing these during the project and have signed up to a Tubex scheme for recycling them when we are finished with them. Owing to the need for resilient support for the growing trees in the tough moorland climate, the biodegradable tree tubes on the market are not suitable for this project.

About National Trust:

The National Trust is a conservation charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. More than 120 years later, these values are still at the heart of everything the charity does.

Entirely independent of Government, the National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 778 miles of coastline and hundreds of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

More than 24 million people visit every year, and together with 5 million members and over 65,000 volunteers, they help to support the charity in its work to care for special places for ever, for everyone.

For more information and ideas for great seasonal days out go to

Registered charity number 205846.  

About Yorkshire Water:

We’re Yorkshire Water. The people trusted to take care of Yorkshire’s most valuable natural resource. On the surface, it sounds simple. We manage and look after the region’s water. But water is not quite like anything else. We’re not like any other business – and nowhere is quite like Yorkshire. Our work means much more than just supplying clean drinking water, taking away wastewater and looking after the region’s coast and countryside. We’re an integral part of Yorkshire life and millions of people who live and work here rely upon us, every single day.

We look after communities, protect the environment and plan ahead to look after Yorkshire’s water, today, tomorrow, always. 24/7, 365, we provide essential water and wastewater services to every corner of the Yorkshire region and play a key role in the region’s health, wellbeing and prosperity. That means over 5 million customers, and the millions of people who visit Yorkshire each year rely on us, every day. 140,000 businesses also depend upon the water we supply and the wastewater we take away to provide goods and services that support the economy – not only in Yorkshire, but across the United Kingdom and beyond.

About The White Rose Forest:

The White Rose Forest is the community forest for North and West Yorkshire, working in partnership with local communities, government, businesses and landowners to plant trees for the benefit of everyone and the environment. The White Rose Forest team are experts in woodland creation and provide free planning, funding and delivery support for tree planting projects across the region. For more information visit:

 About Trees for Climate

Trees for Climate is a multi-million pound woodland creation programme, led by England’s Community Forests, that offers one of the most competitive grant schemes for woodland creation. The programme is part of the national Government’s Nature for Climate fund and is only available within the Community Forest areas of England.

About Government’s Nature for Climate Fund   

Trees are at the forefront of the Government’s plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, to help to bend the curve of biodiversity loss, improve the environment and to create thousands of green jobs while better connecting people with nature.   

The England Trees Action Plan is transforming how we grow and manage trees and woodlands in England. Its delivery is supported by over £675m of funding under the £750m Nature for Climate Fund. Through this work, we will boost tree planting which will help put the UK on track to meet our net zero targets, reverse the decline in nature, improve water quality, and support job creation and economic growth.