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Volunteers Restore Historic Hedgerow

A team of volunteers is helping to re-plant an ancient hedgerow as part of a wildlife conservation project in Bladon.

The project is a joint initiative between us, as landowners, the Conservation Volunteers and the Woodland Trust. Once completed, the hedgerow will comprise of nearly 1,500 individual native tree and shrub species including rowan, bird cherry, hazel, crab apple, goat willow, blackthorn, hawthorn, dogwood and dog rose.

Villagers Jeannie Donald-McKim, her husband Jules, and Lisa Holland are leading the community project.

“It was planned as a community project to bring all groups and generations in the village together to work on a healthy, outdoor activity that would nurture relationships and seed friendships, and might inspire future ideas on how to address the climate and ecological emergency in practical constructive ways locally,” said Jeannie.

“Unfortunately, this was scuppered by the recent lockdowns, but on a smaller scale in November we had groups of several families and neighbours out planting, and this new year we have had several friends and neighbours volunteering to plant by themselves.

“People in the village have been very excited to be part of the project, and it is a real shame that we were unable to have the group plantings we planned. Hopefully there will be similar opportunities in the future - there is plenty of room for more hedges!” she added.

The Conservation Volunteers provided 950 of the saplings with the Woodland Trust and ourselves each donating 210, the remaining 105 were a birthday present for Jeannie from her husband Jules. The team estimate the hedgerow will take up to three years to become established and will provide a vital ‘wildlife corridor’.

Up to 80 per cent of British birds, 50 per cent of small mammals and 30 per cent of butterflies live in or on hedges and since the end of WWII the total number of hedges and hedgerows in the UK has halved.

As well as forming a new wildlife habitat, the hedgerow planting project is also seen as a great way for people to get outside, be close to nature and be part of a positive conservation initiative.

“It’s amazing to think we’re part of something that will hopefully grow and flourish and provide food and shelter for wildlife for generations to come,” said Jeannie.

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