AN eco-movement based in East Lancs is behind an ambitious push to plant more than 500,000 trees across the county.

Supporters of the Clitheroe-based Ribble Rivers Trust often create woodlands as part of their environmental improvements across the waterway and its tributaries.

But until now the trust, which covers the Rivers Ribble, Darwen, Hodder and Calder, has imported its specimens.

An initiative devised in partnership with the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, Forestry England and county garden centres is looking to change that.

Trust leaders are establishing community tree nurseries, with the latest being at Grange Community Gardens in Ribbleton, near Preston, in a bid to become self-sustaining.

Donations of pots, tools and old growing equipment for upcycling have already been handed over, by the likes of the Newlands Nursery in Chatburn, to develop the cause.

One of the offshoots from the nursery project is their unique methods of tree seed collection.

Working with East Lancashire GPs, the trust had already designed a series of health walks, to gently introduce exercise into the lives of people who need to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

When the time comes this autumn, strolls through ancient woodlands, to collect tree seeds, can serve as the bedrock for the nursery's growing ambitions.

Charlotte Ireland Pope, a trust officer, said in a blog: "In fact, all our seeds originate from these local ancient woodlands.

"By collecting seeds from these locations, we can ensure they are native tree species that have adapted over generations to thrive in the local climate and local soils.

"This commitment to provenance is vital, especially in the face of our changing climate.

"However, the real magic unfolds in our community tree nurseries. Within these calm and relaxing sanctuaries, under the watchful eye of our dedicated volunteers, seeds become saplings.

"From acorn to oak, our volunteers are the lifeblood of this initiative. These amazing individuals undertake tasks ranging from weeding to watering and general maintenance.

"The success of our community tree nurseries lies not just in numbers but in the diverse experiences of our volunteers.

"By tailoring sessions to accommodate varying levels of dexterity, attention spans, and physical strength, we are providing a dynamic, fulfilling, and valuable activity for all."

In the first year of the community nurseries' operation, more than 4,500 trees have been grown, with a target of 12,000 for the coming year. More than 25,000 seeds have been collected so far.

Under their Lancashire Woodland Connect drive, the trust is seeking funds to widen this scope, with environment enthusiasts able to donate £15 or more towards the work. More details are available on the trust's website -