NATURE lover Gabrielle Grace is doing her bit for the environment this New Year.

The Wellington woman is urging people to recycle their Christmas cards as part of a Woodland Trust campaign to plant more trees across the Somerset countryside.

Gabrielle is supporting the scheme in the hope that hundreds of cards will be dropped off at Marks & Spencer when the festive season ends this week.

Her efforts have already helped create a mini forest in Alhampton, east of Langport.

She said: “It was great visiting the new woodland on my doorstep.

“Even though many of the trees are still smaller than me, it already has an established feel to it and in a few years’ time it will be a really beautiful little wood.

“The trees are already providing a habitat for a huge variety of creatures, including many small mammals.

“It’s a mini-eco system and it’s great to think my small recycling efforts have helped to produce it.”

Gabrielle’s love of the countryside saw her up sticks from a life in London to Wellington six years ago to enjoy all Somerset has to offer, from birdwatching to the annual Glastonbury Festival.

Gabrielle, 62, who works part-time for Somerset Churches Together, said: “Woodlands, especially those with a variety of tree species, are always wonderful places.

“One of my favourite areas of woodland is on the top of the Quantock Hills between Will’s Neck and Lydeard Hill – there are some wonderful old beech trees there with fantastic looping branches, and in frost or snow it’s truly magical.”

Somerset has 35,137 hectares of woodland but only 11.6% of people living in the county have woods within 500m of their homes.

Jo Mathieson, of the Woodland Trust, said: “It’s a win, win – by recycling cards you’re playing a key part in turning unwanted waste into much-needed trees.”

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