MEMBERS of Wiltshire’s oldest golf club have been putting one in a hole instead of aiming for a hole in one.

Founded in 1880, Kingsdown Golf Club is the second oldest in the West of England and the oldest club in Wiltshire.

But many of the trees on the 18-hole course have been infected by the ash dieback disease affecting ash trees throughout the country.  

Now the Friends of Green Staff at Kingsdown Golf Club have been helping to plant 800 new saplings to replace trees that have been felled because of the deadly disease.

Kingsdown Golf Club chairman Jamie Kyd said: “Many locals would have experienced road closures as ash trees were felled by local councils to prevent further risk of trees falling on to public roads.  

“The loss of ash trees on our land was dramatic and expensive and we have had no alternative other than to remove affected trees within a strictly limited timeframe.

“We plan to plant semi-mature trees in areas where the ash trees have left large open spaces." 

FOGS project leader Steve Kelley said: “To offset the significant financial burden that the felling and replanting of trees entails, we applied to the Woodland Trust early in the year and were granted 400 saplings all of which were indigenous native varieties. 

“With the help of a volunteer group of our 700 club members, these were planted in the spring in an area which could be left unmown to enable the new trees to establish with minimal risk of damage. 

“We applied for a further grant of trees and another batch of 400 saplings were delivered in the last month. 

“Again, the same volunteer group arranged two planting sessions which were completed before the end of November. 

He said: “These 800 new trees will take several years to mature enough to be used to replace lost trees around the course, with those remaining forming a new mini forest in an area that was not an integral part of the golf course.”

The Woodland Trust has embarked on a campaign to provide young trees free of charge to groups or organisations who are willing to plant these to create much-needed woodland for the future and help tackle the climate crisis.

If the UK is to reach its carbon neutral target by 2050, the Committee on Climate Change has recommended an increase in woodland cover from 13 per cent to 19 per cent.