At the start of the Winter volunteering season we had one, long, unruly hedgerow, choked by brambles and looking very sorry for itself. The Hill Court Farm volunteers have slashed, chopped, sawn and dug away and the result is a hedgerow that can breathe, with lots of newly planted trees, which will offer a fantastic habitat for a diverse range of wildlife.
After clearing out the bramble and removing dead parts of the hedge we laid as much as we could, leaving some nice tall standards such as Ash to attract a greater variety of birds. Then, with a some much appreciated help from the Roving Volunteers, we planted hundreds of new trees including hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, holly, dogwood, guelder rose, spindle, service, rowan and field maple.
Some benefit to wildlife of a nice, thick, diverse hedgerow are obvious - eg. as a great source of food, shelter and nesting sites for birds. But hedgerows have a myriad of other perhaps less obvious benefits. For instance in Spring, when queen bumblebees are looking for nesting sites, they tend to favour vacated mouse, vole and shrew nests and hedgerows are a great place for her to find just such a spot.
Looking ahead to our Spring tasks we will be undertaking a variety of jobs such as ditch clearing, development and monitoring of a woodland pond that we created last year and collecting and spreading wild flower seeds. I look forward to sharing news of these tasks as we tackle them.
This month's volunteer work party at Hill Court Farm on Saturday 29 March coincides with our volunteer taster day so if you'd like the opportunity to experience some practical conservation work then we'd love to have you along. We will be working on some fencing to protect our length of hedgerow. No previous experience is necessary and all you need to bring along on the day is a packed lunch/drink and some gardening gloves (if you have them). Contact Naomi on 01905 754919 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to book a place.
Sara, Hill Court Farm