Our humble hedgerows are often overlooked but they are immensely important for biodiversity, connecting habitats, protecting against pollution and fighting climate change. In fact, they are so efficient at guzzling carbon that the independent Climate Change Committee recommends we plant 40% more hedgerows, i.e. 200,000km, by 2050.
That’s why we were so overjoyed to be joined at Naturetrek in Hampshire by 31 hardworking volunteers from Network Rail – who funded the planting through their Community Planting Fund – and eight of our incredible Corporate Partners (Acorn Recruitment, Animal Friends, hgh Consulting, Kite Clothing, Macfarlanes LLP, Savills, Spar UK and Stuart Turner). Together, we planted just shy of 1,000 hedgerow and scrub whips and around seven trees.
The day got off to a rather cold start but we were warmed up by more tea, coffee, pastries and cakes than we could possibly manage courtesy of Smoke’nGreek BBQ, and it wasn’t long before the sun came out. Activities began with a very warm welcome from The Tree Council CEO Sara Lom and Andy Tucker from Naturetrek who thanked everyone for their tree-mendous support.
Then it was off for a quick walk around the stunning Naturetrek site as a magnificent red kite circled overhead. Naturetrek have been operating expert-led wildlife holidays and tours around the world for 35 years. Their offices sit on 12-acres of idyllic grassland in Hampshire which they are working to re-wild to connect up areas of ancient woodland and hedgerows through scrub and hedge planting.
The group were then trained on how to plant a tree properly and safely with a demonstration from our expert Tree Council team.
The team were then divided into two groups and headed off to begin planting rows of mixed native tree species including hawthorn, alder, blackthorn, hazel, field maple, elder, spindle and oak, interspersed with holly shrubs. These new hedgerow and scrub areas will emulate the natural succession of plant communities from open grassland to woodland, providing shelter and forage for many vulnerable species including the hazel dormouse. After a hearty lunch of delicious Greek wraps, planting continued and several trees – three small leaf limes, two beeches and one rowan – were also put into the ground as special dedications.
Finally, it was time for mulching, mulching and more mulching. Mulch holds back weeds, helps young trees retain water and keeps the soil at an optimal temperature for the roots. It was an absolutely tremendous effort by all involved, with several of our dedicated corporate volunteers going above and beyond to make sure every single young tree was well tucked in.
We are so grateful for the outstanding support that our Corporate Partners provide for us, and it was wonderful for The Tree Council Team to get to meet so many in person. Here’s to many more planting days out when the season returns!