Vigilis Tree Shelters at Broughton Hall Estate
We are extremely proud to have played a part in the rewilding project at Broughton Hall Estate, the largest tree planting scheme in England this winter with 160 hectares of trees being planted by April 2021.
Project: 173,000 treeshelters with softwood stakes used to protect young trees on the Broughton Estate
Client: Broughton Estate, with funding from White Rose Forest Partnership
Location: Broughton Estate near Skipton in North Yorkshire
Products: 1.2m Vigilis Tree Shelters with 1200x32x32mm treated softwood stakes
Much of Broughton Estate has been grazed by sheep for many years, but with the owner wanting to ‘re-wild’ large parts of the estate, allowing deer, rabbits and hares to move freely amongst newly planted woodland, the saplings were considered to be in urgent need of secure protection from browsing. In addition, funding from White Rose Forest Partnership was awarded partly in order to help deliver on the governments stated objective of becoming ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050, and partly to help to slow rainfall run-off into rivers such as the Aire, which in the past has caused catastrophic flooding in cities such as Leeds and Bradford. Speed of tree establishment as well as reliable protection from browsing animals were therefore crucial factors as far as both key stake holders were concerned – the owner of Broughton Estate and the principal funding agency White Rose Forestry Partnership.
However, in the early part of 2021 there was an additional challenge for this first phase of the four year planting program at Broughton Estate. The final go-ahead on funding was only secured around Christmas of 2020, meaning that main contract manager Wayne Scurrah of Scurrah Associates was left with the unenviable task of sourcing enough native broadleaves, contract labour and treeshelters/stakes for the first phase, at a time of scarce supply and when most contracts for the planting season were already in place.
1.2m individual treeshelters were identified as the best option for tree protection, as they allow animals to move freely within the plantation, un-hindered by deer fencing. Individual treeshelters are also proven to encourage the speedy establishment and fast growth of newly planted saplings, which would help to expedite the flood-mitigation benefits of the scheme faster than if fencing was used, so Scurrah Associates put the protection materials out to tender with a number of UK treeshelter suppliers, including Suregreen. Price was one element, but the ability to supply the required materials in a timely fashion in order to fully deliver on the first years planting program was also vital. Not only was the price from Suregreen the most competitive, but Vigilis treeshelters were found to be great match, being strong and quick to install, with uniquely easy to operate zip ties and muted green colour. Being the manufacturer of Vigilis treeshelters, Suregreen were also able to prioritise the production of shelters for Broughton Estate during the busiest part of the planting season, with the first full load of treeshelters and stakes shipped to site within two weeks of receipt of the order, and the contract completed over a seven week period. Although exceptionally wet weather caused delays with ground preparation, supply of treeshelters and stakes was never a problem on this project thanks to Suregreen.
Vigilis treeshelters from Suregreen were found to be quick to install and easy to work with. It is also anticipated that when it comes to removal of the shelters for routine maintenance and again at the end of their useful life, the uniquely easy to use ties will save the contractor money by taking less time to undo/re-tie. When planting on such a large scale, on fields adjacent to busy traffic routes, the more natural colour of the Vigilis treeshelter was felt to blend in to the environment better than other treeshelters that were initially under consideration, and the stakes, which were carefully sourced from reliable mills, were also found to have few knots causing a negligible number breakages.