Volunteers from United Utilities found themselves digging deep when they ‘branched out’ from their usual jobs to spend the day tree planting with Ribble Rivers Trust.

They joined a Ribble Rivers Trust tree planting session at Lower Gill, near Tosside in the Forest of Bowland, to spend the day planting a range of native trees including oak, rowan, silver birch and elder, to support the creation of a new woodland area.

Work is almost complete on the woodland which will feature more than 8,500 trees. As well as providing an important wildlife habitat, it will also capture carbon and provide natural flood management benefits to improve water quality and support fish species in the becks around the area.

Steve Walker, county business lead for Lancashire explained why the team wanted to support the project: “We are a new team, each of us focused on driving improvements in Lancashire and this was the ideal opportunity to get together to get to know each other a little better and support a project that is delivering so many benefits.

Lancashire Telegraph: The tree planting team on site at Lower GillThe tree planting team on site at Lower Gill (Image: United Utilities)

 “Across Lancashire, United Utilities has invested more than £330m during the last five years in projects ranging from infrastructure improvements to riverside tree planting schemes, all of which are enhancing water quality in the River Ribble and its tributaries, so it made perfect sense for us to get out there and provide some hands on support.”

Jonny Walker, senior woodland officer at Ribble Rivers Trust added: “We are on a big push now to complete the planting at Lower Gill and have got only about 1,000 trees left to plant.

"We’re very grateful to all the volunteers who have given their time to come along and get involved with planting.

 “The woodland is mainly being planted for carbon capture, but it’ will also provide natural flood management benefits which we hope will also help wildlife in the nearby becks.

"They have got very good spawning potential for salmon and trout, but the high flows and floods mean any eggs and fry get washed out.

 “We hope this planting will reduce water run-off from the land and in turn help to control the water flows and levels in the becks to improve the chances of spawning.”

 To find out more and sign up for a Ribble Rivers Trust event visit the trust's website.