CHILDREN at Thornton Dale Primary School have been busy knitting away to make their contribution to a massive woollen frost-proof blanket needed to protect young fruit trees at Dalby Forest.

About 200 shrubs, trees and herbs have been planted recently near the visitor centre on the Dalby Forest site, near Pickering, as part of a new forest garden.

In order to protect the vulnerable plants over the cold winter months a project has been launched by the Forestry Commission, supported by the North York Moors Authority Sustainable Development Fund, to knit a giant woollen blanket to cover the 100 metre square plot and keep the soil cosy.

The blanket is to be made up of individual panels knitted by volunteers and members of the public, with the task culminating in a public Stitch Up event at Dalby on Sunday, November 20, from 1pm to 4pm.

All the individual knitted panels will be linked together to create one huge blanket for the new forest garden.

Petra Young, of the Forestry Commission, said: “We’ll need about 1,600 panels in total to stitch together before the harsh weather.

“It’s a really good way of protecting young plants and a brilliant chance for the public to get involved.

“People can help by knitting small panels themselves in any colour or design, measuring 30 centimetres square or more and dropping them off at Dalby Forest Visitor Centre, Pickering Library or the Forestry Commission’s Pickering office in Outgang Road.”

Among the plants being nurtured are shrubs such as raspberry and bilberry bushes, as well as apple and pear trees and many herbs.

For more information about the project, phone Petra on 01751 472771