HUNDREDS of new trees have been planted across South Somerset thanks to green-fingered volunteers hoping to help save the planet.

Earlier this year, the News announced the Green Ilminster group’s ambition to add 7,000 new trees to the town and surrounding area.

That kicked off last week, with the first 40 trees funded by the public and placed on land own by Ilminster residents.

Sarah Hunt, one of the group’s founding members, said: “Planting trees is one of the best ways we have to combat climate change, and Green Ilminster and the Ilminster Tree Project want the whole community to become involved, from planting one tree in the garden to landowners giving permission for us to plant many.

“We are happy to provide advice and planting teams on both public and private land.”

Also at the Ilminster project was Pamela Sellers, who planted a community woodland in the town 10 years ago.

She said: “People of Ilminster, 10 years ago you planted 1,000 native species of trees - oak, birch, maple, rowan and cherry - on a site in Ashwell, land belonging to the Dillington Estate.

“The trees are now mature and doing what they were planted for.

“Green Ilminster have planted a black walnut here and there is room for many more trees, if we could find enough people to clear the nettles.

“The aim of planting 7,000 trees in and around Ilminster is totally praiseworthy and necessary, but don’t forget we need to reduce the burning of fossil fuels in our homes and cars, to eat less meat, to fly less and to waste less.”

More than 500 trees have also been planted near Crewkerne, thanks to the South Somerset branch Extinction Rebellion (XR).

Around 30 members helped with the planting on Saturday on land by the River Parrett.

More than 400 trees were supplied by the Woodland Trust, and another hundred donated by XR members and supporters.

“It’s fantastic that so many people came out to plant trees,” said Michael Fox, one of those who took part.

The Woodland Trust has agreed to supply another 420 trees for a second phase of planting nearby in February.

Eventually XR hopes to plant more than 2,000 trees on this site.