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Hundreds of trees planted at Knighton Park

Published on Monday, February 13, 2023

3 minute read

Knighton Park tree planting. Pictured are Samantha Woods from the Saving Saffron Brook project, Jack Starbuck from the Woodland Trust, Leicester Environmental Volunteer Chris Waterfield and Rob Sayer from Leicester City Council parks

HUNDREDS of new trees and shrubs are being planted at Knighton Park as part of a scheme to promote more environmentally friendly planting.

About 400 saplings and 200 shrubs – a mixture of native broadleaf species including beech, oak, blackthorn and field maple - have been supplied to Leicester City Council at a large discount by The Woodland Trust, as part of its MOREwoods project to help landowners create and manage new native woodlands all across the UK.

Planting started on 9 February, to extend the new wooded area close to the Palmerston Way (ring road) car park entrance to Knighton Park. Another, new area of planting will be established at the pedestrian entrance on Palmerston Way.

City council parks staff will be trying out a new, environmentally friendly approach to the planting, which doesn’t use herbicides as a pre-treatment for the grass prior to planting.

The work complements the Saving Saffron Brook project, which is taking place along the banks of the Wash Brook in Knighton Park, as well as at other destinations across the city. River destination points, with new signs and seating, are being created in the park, while work in the spinney area has been carried out to support rare species of plants.

The Saving Saffron Brook project is being carried out in partnership with the Trent Rivers Trust and with support from community groups including Knighton Wild and the Friends of Knighton Park, which will be running free, family-friendly events throughout the year to tie in with the park’s 70th birthday.

Deputy city mayor for transport, clean air and the climate emergency, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “We’re carrying out this trial tree-planting technique in response to calls for change, to ensure that new planting is as environmentally friendly as possible. Similarly, we have stopped using glyphosate to control weeds in public spaces, instead controlling them using mulch – and saplings are being supported with plant-based biodegradable tubes rather than plastic ones.  

“These are just some of the ways in which we’re committing the principles of our plans to support biodiversity and minimise the impacts of the climate emergency.

“Alongside this important work, we’re continuing with our fantastic Saving Saffron Brook project, which has already seen more than 700 people get involved and more than 2,500 hours of volunteering contributed to help make this urban waterway a haven for wildlife, as well as a natural defence against flooding and climate change.” 

Jack Starbuck from the Woodland Trust added: "It is brilliant that the Woodland Trust has been able to support this project through our MOREwoods scheme. As the UK's largest woodland conservation charity, we have a vision of a world where woods and trees thrive for the benefit of people and nature, and trees in urban areas are brilliant at both; improving air quality, moderating temperatures and absorbing CO2, as well as helping to support local wildlife. The Saving Saffron Brook project is a great example of partnership working to deliver high-impact projects with a lasting legacy for local residents."

More information about the Saving Saffron Brook project, including how to get involved, can be found at:

Find out more about the Friends of Knighton Park at:


Notes to editors

About MOREWoods

Where 500+ trees are planted as woodland on at least half a hectare, the Woodland Trust can help you design your woodland, create a bespoke species mix, supply the agreed trees and tree protection, and cover up to 75% of costs. MOREwoods is funded by Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland as part of a broader commitment to plant one million trees a year over the next decade. For more information about how the Woodland Trust can support tree planting, please head to

About Saving Saffron Brook

The £807,800 Saving the Saffron Brook river restoration scheme is one of 90 nature-based projects across the UK to benefit from the second round of the Government's Defra Green Recovery Challenge Funding, designed to boost green jobs and nature recovery. Alongside Leicester City Council and the Trent Rivers Trust, partners in the project include Oadby and Wigston Borough Council, NatureSpot, Knighton Wild, Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and many others.

In total, the project will improve and restore around 2,300 metres of river habitat and over 500m of riverbank, as well as planting around two hectares of woodland, creating 1.5 hectares of wetland and two hectares of species-rich grassland to boost local biodiversity.

The project will also create or improve up to 2,000 metres of footpaths, improving access along the river and bringing communities closer to nature.