Fingers crossed, within the next few weeks we are going to be welcoming our first guests set free to travel for the first time in months, there is a huge pent-up demand for holidays. I can also feel that there is a renewed enthusiasm across the land for the countryside and all the benefits that it bestows. I am firm in the belief that our visitors will not want to take what we have here in this beautiful corner of Wales for granted and may well like to leave knowing that their stay has made a contribution to enhancing the landscape. If you share this feeling I am asking you to consider joining a Beacons’ wide initiative to plant a million trees across the park and its surroundings.
This initiative is a new charity called ‘STUMP UP FOR TREES’ and our aim is to increase the tree cover of the Brecon Beacons area by a million trees. Just 14% of the National Park is covered with trees and with deadly diseases affecting ash and larch to mention just two we must take action now to really enhance our tree cover. It is no use waiting for the Welsh Government, they achieved just 4% of their stated tree-planting target in 2019. This is where Stump up for Trees will make a difference.
Stump up for Trees is the brainchild of two passionate people who both love the Brecon Beacons and who both want to give back to this landscape in a meaningful way. Meet tree planter, farmer and vet Keith Powell and author, journalist and woodland campaigner, Rob Penn. Their vision is to find parcels of land across the Beacons on which to plant native broadleaf trees. Of course, this means working in partnership with landowners and farmers to plant trees on underused land like steep bracken covered banks. We have already begun our first large scale plant of 64 hectares on common land at Brywn Arw at the eastern corner of the Black Mountains.
Stump up for Trees is more than just about planting trees. We want to engage with the local community and involve our schools in this important initiative. We already have over 100 signed-up volunteers waiting for the lockdown to end who are keen to help in any way they can. We have a small paid part-time staff who are working with landowners to obtain all the required permissions form the authorities to prepare the way for the tree planting to begin.
It costs around £5 to source, plant and maintain a tree for 12 years by which time they should be well away and fending for themselves. Of course, it all boils down to money but I know there is an appetite amongst our visitors to give back and enhance this landscape they enjoy on their holidays and visits. This is why I started a scheme at Gliffaes Hotel called, ‘Room for Trees’.
This is a simple scheme that works a little like a city tax you might see added to your hotel bill in places like Rome. For every room night Gliffaes Hotel sells we contribute £1, stay three nights with us and we give £3 but we also ask the guest to make a contribution too. We automatically add an optional donation of £1.50 to everyone’s bill on check-out. This is explained to our guests in their confirmation emails and also on a tent card in every room. We started this scheme just before lockdown in 2020 and although we were only trading for about 3 months last year we raised nearly £3000 for Stump up for Trees.
Have a look at this short film we made to explain the project.
I leave it to you to decide on the level of contribution and how you might collect it but you will find it is a powerful story that your guests will be keen to support. I hope that many members of the hospitality community will get behind this idea and if you want to take it on please contact me for more information. You might also have some land that you would like to see planted with some beautiful trees, we may well be able to help with this. Please do get in touch with me if you would like to help us.
01874 730 371
07778 467 222