A Bristol Neuro-scientist has paddled 90 miles from Reading to Bristol to help a small charity to plant more trees to combat climate change.

Bristol University computational neuroscience lecturer, Rui Costa, kayaked along the Kennet & Avon Canal to raise funds for a more sustainable planet and to support Britain’s woodlands

He arrived in Bristol harbour mid-day on Monday, August 19 after finishing his challenge to raise funds to enable Avon Needs Trees to plant trees between Calne and Chippenham.

Rui Costa, 33, from Bristol, who lectures in Computational Neuroscience and Machine Learning at Bristol University, took four days to complete the trip.

So far he has smashed through his £300 target by raising £523 and is now aiming to increase the total to £600.

He said: “I love kayaking, and I want to do what I can to combat the climate and biodiversity crises we face. Avon Needs Trees is a perfect fit – the charity is buying land in the region and replanting.

“The catchment area is almost entirely de-forested and we need trees to lock away carbon and improve habitat for wildlife.”

Nikki Jones, Chair of Avon Needs Trees, said: “We’re thrilled that Rui has chosen our charity. Avon Needs Trees is buying land between Chippenham and Calne to reforest.

“We’re hoping to buy 34 acres of land fronting the River Marden at Hazeland near Ratford, to plant thousands of trees.

“Not only will trees help with carbon lock-up and provide habitat for wildlife, they will help slow or stop some of the heavy rainfalls we experience from entering our rivers and ending up in towns and cities lower in the catchment area. We expect those heavy downpours to get worse in the years ahead.”

The charity aims to buy land throughout the Bristol - Avon catchment area and reforest it. It has already raised £25,000 towards a £325,000 target and is approaching trusts for donations towards the total needed to buy the land at Ratford by next spring.

It’s aims are being supported by The Environment Agency, The Woodland Trust, The Bristol-Avon Rivers Trust, the local Wildlife Trust and the local Friends of the Earth groups.

Ms Jones added: “Almost all of Avon's woodland has disappeared over the last few centuries.

“This is disastrous for many reasons but perhaps most pressingly because trees are essential for tackling climate change.

“Trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and protect the valuable soil beneath. By growing thousands of new trees we can take a significant step in the battle against a climate disaster.

“Reforesting Avon has multiple other benefits. It will provide natural flood management which is much more cost-effective than engineered flood defences.

“All of the towns and cities in the area, including Chippenham, Bath, Bradford-on-Avon and Bristol are greatly at risk of flooding, particularly as climate change advances.

“Careful planting will also help enhance bio-diversity and protect our water quality by reducing nitrogen run off. In addition, land acquired will have open access to the public, providing valuable public space.”

Mr Costa’s crowdfunding appeal can be found at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/your-world-needs-trees