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By Michael Brown

Senior Staff Writer

8 December 2021

| | 5 min read


North East Community Forest to far exceed planting target for its first year

Volunteers, community groups, businesses and families will help to far exceed tree planting targets across the North East this winter.

Sunshine through a tree canopy. Headline: More than 57,700 trees to be panted in the North East

The North East Community Forest has announced its first projects to receive funding, with areas of woodland set to be created across Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and the urban areas of County Durham.

Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, Newcastle City Council Cabinet member for climate change and public safety, said: “It is incredibly exciting to see the first North East Community Forest projects announced.

“We know trees and woodlands are of incredible importance to the people of the North East and, if planted in the right place, have widespread benefits, from contributing to our efforts to tackle climate change, to providing welcome opportunities for relaxation and leisure, reducing the risk of flooding, providing homes for wildlife, and having positive impacts on our health and wellbeing.

“These new woodlands, hedgerows, orchards, and trees for our parks and greenspaces are the first steps in what is a monumental effort to make our communities more pleasant, liveable and sustainable.

“And I look forward to seeing them planted, grow and offer greater access to nature right across our region for generations to come.”

What is the North East Community Forest?

Founded in July 2021 the North East Community Forest is a 30 year, multi-million-pound project that will see tens of thousands of trees planted across 6,000 hectares to benefit our local communities.

It is supported by a partnership of local authorities – including Newcastle City Council, Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, North and South Tyneside councils, and Sunderland City Council - combined authorities, charities and organisations.

Since its inception, which was supported by £480,000 from Defra’s Nature for Climate Fund, it has secured additional funding with £300,734 from the Local Authority Treescape Fund, £70,633 from Trees for Cities, and backing from the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, for which Newcastle is a “champion” city.

Where will trees be planted?

Twenty five sites have now been earmarked funding for the coming months:


  • Blakelaw Recreation Ground (0.27ha)
  • Montague Dene in Fenham (0.27ha)
  • Harbottle Park in Byker (0.27ha)
  • Havannah and Three Hills nature reserve in Dinnington (1.38ha)
  • Fouracres Road in Fenham (0.575ha)
  • Brighton Grove in Arthur’s Hill (0.218ha)
  • Newcastle Airport (5.77ha)

County Durham

  • Eight locations across County Durham (18 ha)


  • Whitehills, between Windy Nook, Beacon Lough and Black Hill (7ha)

North Tyneside

  • Henley Gardens in Wallsend (1.2ha)
  • Love Avenue in Annitsford (0.42ha)
  • Rising Sun Country Park (3.3ha)

South Tyneside

  • Temple Park (2.398ha)
  • Cleadon Park (0.67ha)
  • Jubilee Woods (1.025ha)


  • Former Elemore golf course in Houghton le Spring (6.59ha)
  • Hetton Park (0.44ha)
  • Sunningdale School (0.21ha)

Please note: Tree planting at some of these locations are subject to the outcome of public consultations – Find out more on the NECF consultations page – while others are subject to receiving statutory consent.

More than 57,000 new trees

In total that means more than 47.2 hectares of planting – 89 percent above the NECF’s target for its first year – with over 57,720 new trees put in the ground and 2,250 metres of hedgerow added by the end of March 2022.

Councillor John McElroy, cabinet member for environment and transport at Gateshead Council, said: “Trees and woodlands are of vital importance to the long term health and prosperity of the North East and in Gateshead we’ve already been working towards our own planting targets, with some great successes.

“Now through coming together and being part of the North East Community Forest, we can boost our efforts for the benefit of all.”

Cllr Sandra Graham, North Tyneside Council cabinet member for environment said: “Here in North Tyneside, we are absolutely committed to doing everything in our gift to create a sustainable borough and part of this includes planting more trees and creating biodiversity areas.

“The project will help us lesson our carbon impact and play a part in our ambitious plans to work towards being carbon net zero by 2030.

“We are delighted to have identified areas for the project and look forward to it getting underway.”

Find out more

For more information about the North East Community Forest and how you can get involved visit the North East Community Forest web pages