Saplings planted at Centenary Riverside

Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s Centenary Riverside nature reserve has been chosen by Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, as the site for the planting of five saplings, including a hazel, two silver birch and two rowan trees.

This is thanks to a donation as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC), in collaboration with The Woodland Trust and Sainsbury’s, which is giving MPs the opportunity to plant trees at a chosen location in their constituency.

Left to right: Rob Miller, Living Landscapes Manager (North), Sarah Champion MP, and Liz Ballard, Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust CEO.

The saplings are all UK sourced and grown and will reach approximately 8-10m in height. They were planted on the reserve on Friday 2 November by Ms Champion, Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust CEO Liz Ballard and Living Landscapes Manager (North) Rob Miller.

Centenary Riverside is a 4.5 hectare wetland reserve nestled alongside the River Don. The site consists of a beautiful wildflower meadow bank which, in the summer, is brimming with butterflies and insects, and a series of ponds and wetlands that attract a huge variety of birds, mammals and insects. Last year, 23 species of butterfly were recorded at the reserve, including the common blue, brown argus and dingy skipper.

But this was not always the case. In 2006, Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust took over the site when it was an old industrial wasteland and transformed it into a wildlife haven. The reserve also plays a key role in Rotherham’s future; designed as a floodplain, it forms part of Rotherham’s flood alleviation scheme which holds back potential flood water and protects industrial and residential areas nearby.

The QCC aims to unite the whole Commonwealth family by creating a pan-Commonwealth network of forest conservation projects. As part of this, the Woodland Trust and ITV, supported by Sainsbury’s, are running a ‘Plant a Tree’ campaign for viewers to become part of this initiative, giving away 50,000 trees, ahead of a forthcoming ITV documentary from ITN Productions, The Queen’s Green Planet, which is airing in April.

Liz Ballard said:

“Centenary Riverside is a hidden gem in Rotherham which the Trust is really proud to have transformed in recent years, so we’re delighted that it was selected by Sarah as her site of choice for these saplings. I’m looking forward to seeing the trees mature and attract more butterflies, insects and birds to the reserve!”

Sarah Champion MP said:

“I am delighted to be involved in the Queens Commonwealth Canopy. I hope the residents of Rotherham will enjoy watching them grow and flourish as part of the Centenary Riverside nature reserve.”

Explore Centenary Riverside.