A group of asylum seekers and refugees have been out on Marsden Moor, helping to plant trees with rangers from the National Trust.

Some of them had never been out on a moor before but that didn’t stop an intrepid group from a Huddersfield refugee charity from joining in with a National Trust tree-planting session.

Kitted out in borrowed waterproofs and clutching spades and tree-support tubes, the group headed out onto the slopes of Pule Hill to join in with planting up a new woodland.

The tree-planting activity was part of a programme of socialisation for the group members who also get to experience local excursions and receive free legal advice.

All housed in temporary accommodation in and around Huddersfield, they hail from a diverse range of countries including Sudan, Eritrea, Palestine, Afghanistan and Cameroon.

Despite the howling winds that are typical of Marsden Moor, the group got stuck in without hesitation, and several members showed themselves to be tree-planting experts. One told staff it reminded him of his own farm growing up in his home country.

Less experienced members paired up with confident planters and by mid-afternoon the 16-strong group, together with National Trust staff and rangers, had planted 150 two-year-old saplings, known as whips, in native species like oak, rowan, hazel and birch.

Their efforts are part of a wider plan to add new native woodland to the slopes and cloughs around the edge of Marsden Moor.

The Trust is planting 65,000 trees on and around Marsden Moor as part of Landscapes for Water, its major partnership programme with Yorkshire Water.

This scheme has been supported by over £1 million from the White Rose Forest, via their Trees for Climate programme, part of the Government’s Nature for Climate Fund.

With so many trees to plant, the Trust have been grateful for all their volunteer helpers this month. As well as the refugees, tree planters have included the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin; a gaggle of under 5s from a local infant school; various National Trust members; the Colne Valley Tree Society; Canal and River Trust and several scout groups.

Lailuma Rehman, welcome mentor and welfare co-ordinator for Immigration and Asylum Support Kirklees, said: “Tree planting is a positive activity for refugees to get involved with because it provides them with a sense of purpose and connection to the environment.

“Additionally, tree planting can help refugees develop new skills, build relationships with others, and promote mental and physical wellbeing. It can help them feel more integrated and empowered in their new surroundings.”

The National Trust’s senior volunteer and community officer for West Yorkshire, Emily Ghassempour, said: “Most of this group are in temporary accommodation and few have regular access to outdoor spaces, so they relished the opportunity to come, enjoy some fresh air and to do something a bit different.

“Nature is such an important part of people’s mental health. We just wanted them to come along and have a good day – and they were a great help to us too.”