VOLUNTEERS are creating a new wood in the heart of the North York Moors National Park as part of a huge push to bring back native trees.

More than 3,500 trees will have been planted by the end of March and now the search is on for landowners and partners to come forward to create more deciduous woods.

At one time almost the whole area was covered in woodlands before humans cleared it leaving only around four per cent of original trees. That has had a devastating impact on native wildlife such as the hazel dormouse and pied flycatcher.

Through a Government scheme, Year of Green Action, the Moors Park Authority is bringing volunteers together to plant the wood at Danby, near Whitby. A seedling scheme has also been started to ensure future planting will be from original stock.

Alasdair Fagan, Moors Park Woodland Creation officer said they're hoping the new trees will still be there in 100 years time. "As well as helping to combat climate change by removing carbon from the atmosphere, mixed deciduous woodland provides a rich habitat for so many native species," he added.

Volunteers have planted oak, silver birch, hazel, rowan, crab apple, wild cherry, hawthorn and blackthorn. Joan Childs, Head of Volunteering for the authority said: "Volunteers have always contributed to the work of the National Park and are at the heart of many of our great achievements.

"This single task is providing an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved, from young families to school groups and corporate teams.

"We’re also encouraging National Park staff, some of whom have largely desk-based roles, to get out and work alongside volunteers for a day of springtime tree planting."

The Park Authority say they want to hear from anyone who would like to help create a new wood who has 2.5 acres or more of land in the National Park.