THE North York Moors National Park Authority is looking to recruit a team of volunteer seed gatherers to help build a collection of native seeds from ancient woodlands and veteran trees.

The project will see up to 40,000 seeds collected from species, including oak, hazel, holly, juniper and rowan. Following collection, the seeds will be grown on by local nurseries, and then used in future woodland creation projects in the National Park.

Evidence shows that the North York Moors was almost entirely covered in woodland before humans started clearing them; now, only four per cent of the area is woodland of ancient origin.

The planting of new woodland habitats is a key element of the National Park Authority’s conservation efforts. However, sourcing seeds of local provenance - those that are genetically similar to the native trees of the local area - is extremely challenging.

Alasdair Fagan, woodland creation officer at the North York Moors National Park Authority, said: “Planting seedlings of local provenance has long been encouraged, as it is generally believed that these trees will be genetically adapted to best cope with local climate, pests and diseases.”

The process of seed collection differs depending on the species; however, both berries and nuts will need to be collected directly from the trees, rather than the ground, to ensure they are in the best possible condition.

The key window for successful seed collection will be from September to October, although berries from holly can be collected later in the year.

The project is sponsored by the Woodland Trust, which has provided a grant of £1000 to help cover the cost of tools and equipment for the volunteers.

To get involved, email