Willow tunnels help to reduce pollution

Volunteers from The Friends of Millhouses Park joined community groups and Sheffield Council staff to spend two days planting the trees, then weaving their branches into the structures placed around Millhouses Park.
Volunteers from The Friends of Millhouses Park joined community groups and Sheffield Council staff to spend two days planting the trees, then weaving their branches into the structures placed around Millhouses Park.
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GREEN tunnels of willow trees have been planted to help absorb pollution in a popular Sheffield park - as well as provide dens for youngsters to play.

Volunteers from The Friends of Millhouses Park joined community groups and Sheffield Council staff to spend two days planting the trees, then weaving their branches into the structures placed around Millhouses Park.

Other trees planted included disease-resistant elms and ginkgos - known as dinosaur trees as one of few species which existed at the time the giant creatures roamed the earth.

John Brighton, of The Friends of Millhouses Park, said: “The trees will form a pollution-absorbing screen along what has been reported as one of the worst traffic pollution corridors in Sheffield.

“The area is fenced off for now to let the willow establish itself, start to grow and, hopefully, turn green.”

Funding for the project came from Millhouses Community Group, which obtained a grant from the local Sheffield Council community assembly, and the lottery.

Eleven ginkgo trees were planted along the boundary with Abbeydale Road South at the Beauchief end of the park.

The willow tunnels and dens were planted to provide a natural play area for small children, said Mr Brighton.

The new trees are the latest improvement to the park, which has also benefited from a sensory garden planted with herbs and swathes of natural flowers, a new water park for youngsters, and a fish pass allowing fish to avoid weirs and swim upstream along the River Sheaf.

Friends of Millhouses Park are applying for funds to build a new cycle and scooter play area for younger children, so the skate park is used only by older youths.

They also want to restore the historic mill buildings in the park, and build a 30-metre zip wire for children aged eight to 13.