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Branston branches out to help the Woodland Trust


Potato company Branston Ltd is growing its partnership with The Woodland Trust Scotland by donating 7,000 to a community conservation project.

The UKs leading supplier of potatoes handed over the donation to help the trust improve the area at Moncreiffe Hill Wood, which lies a few miles away from Branstons Perth-based factory.

The general manager for Branstons Perth site Eric Ritchie handed over the cheque to Jill Aitken of the The Woodland Trust at a special tree planting ceremony at the site. Volunteers from Branston, who have given up their time to help the trust, also went along. The donation will be used to plant more trees and improve the paths in the area.

Eric said: We have worked with the trust twice before and we have really enjoyed seeing the benefits of our work. Now we have started the project we really wanted to give them some help with the next phase, and the local environment is really important to us as a local employer.

I am also honoured that I have been invited to plant one of the first trees and think it is an excellent way to mark the occasion. I firmly believe that the work that The Woodland Trust does is vital for the future of our local community.

Branston has twice volunteered groups of staff to help to tidy up the land at Moncreiffe Hill Wood. Volunteers gave up a days work earlier this year and in October last year, to help staff from the trust to clear old grow tubes and deer fencing from the site. The land is now ready for a new batch of trees.

The woodland conservation charity hopes to use the money to develop the area and to encourage younger people, schools and other groups of visitors to visit to discover more about the local woodland.

Jill Aitken, Perth site manager for The Woodland Trust Scotland said: We are delighted with the generous donation from Branston, we cannot thank them enough. They have already helped us with the manual work at the site and it is great news that they now want to further help the project and encourage people in the local community to come and learn more about the woodland and enjoy the outdoors.

When Branston initially approached us, we were more than happy to accept their help with volunteer days, and our relationship with them has evolved, with them looking for other ways to support our work in the area. I can think of no better way to mark the occasion than to get Eric to plant the first tree in the new extension.

About Branston Ltd

Branston Ltd was set up as a co-operative of Lincolnshire farmers in 1968. The company grew and became a limited company. Today, Branston is privately-owned and one of the UKs biggest potato buyers, packers and distributors turning over 110 million in 2008.

Branston has sites in Lincolnshire, Somerset and Scotland. Across the UK, the company employs more than 600 people, with over 120 at its South West site. In 1990, Branston began working with Tesco and is now one of the supermarkets top fresh produce suppliers. Branston branched out into prepared vegetables in 2005 and opened its own 4 million new prepared foods factory in 2009. Branston was the first food producer in the country to receive the Carbon Trust Standard in recognition of its environmental initiatives, which have resulted in a reduction in its carbon intensity over a three year period. In 2010, Branston will further grow its green credentials when it opens its anaerobic digestion plant that will turn waste potatoes into electricity, part of a 1.4 million investment in green technologies at its Lincoln site.

The Woodland Trust: The Woodland Trust is the UKs leading woodland conservation charity.  It has 300,000 members and supporters.  The Trust has three key aims: i) To create more native woodland; ii) To protect native woods and trees for their wildlife value;  iii) To inspire everyone to enjoy and value woodland 

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) across the UK.  In Scotland, the Trust manages  8,500 hectares of land across 80 sites.  Further news can be found at

Moncreiffe HillWood Moncreiffe Hill is a major landmark just a few kilometres from the city of Perth. The name Moncreiffe derives from the Gaelic `Monadh Craiobh` which means `hill of the tree.

Moncreiffe Hill woodland is a 132 Ha mixed woodland (classified as Long Established Woodland of Plantation Origin) situated between Perth and Bridge of Earn. From the south it shows the spring and autumn colours of broadleaves, larch and pine to the thousands of drivers heading north on the M90. Moncreiffe Hill Wood is important for its diversity of habitats with a great variety of tree species including Douglas Fir, European Larch, Scots Pine, birch, oak, sycamore and ash.

More than 100 species of flora and fauna have been identified in the woods, including crow garlic and hairy violet and red squirrels, green and great spotted woodpeckers and roe deer can also be seen. Additionally, the wood contains two Iron Age hill forts.

There are currently 12km of paths offering way marked route options, and a walk to the top gives panoramic views to all compass points.

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