Here's where a new mini forest has been planted in Blackpool

A mini forest which is the size of a tennis court is set to spring up in Blackpool after 600 trees were planted by pupils and volunteers.

Children from Mereside Primary Academy rolled up their sleeves to help with the initiative led by environmental charity Earthwatch Europe and OVO Foundation, the charitable arm of OVO Energy.

The team planted the trees in a small plot on Bowness Avenue to create a dense fast-growing native woodland, using techniques which require no chemicals or fertilisers..

Headteacher Samantha Upton said: “The children were so excited to take part in this wonderful initiative and can’t wait to see the outcomes of all their hard work.

Children planting the tiny forest - picture Duncan Elliott

"As the planting took place so close to school there is a real sense of community within the children who are very protective of their local area."

Coun Jane Hugo, cabinet member for climate change at Blackpool Council, said: “We are thrilled Blackpool has been able to join in the Earthwatch Tiny Forest approach after it was featured on Countryfile some time ago.

"This fantastic initiative, a first for Blackpool, has taken place in the heart of Mereside."

The OVO Foundation is funding 12 Tiny Forests across the UK over two planting seasons.

Tree planting at Mereside

It comes as the council's executive agreed a new strategy to green up Blackpool which means all new development must include more trees.

Future planning guidance will provide "direction on the importance for new development to fully consider landscaping and green infrastructure".

Blackpool has the lowest tree canopy cover in the UK at just 4.4 per cent compared to the national average of around 16 per cent.

The council's ambition is to plant 10,000 new trees by 2029 in order to significantly increase green landscapes in the town, which it believes will boost residents' health, make neighbourhoods more attractive, benefit wildlife and biodiversity and support Blackpool's climate change agenda.

Pupils from Mereside Primary Academy
Councillors Jane Hugo, Kath Benson and Adrian Hutton helping to plant trees at Mereside