Fringe Box



Volunteers Lay Hedges to Restore Green Networks for Local Wildlife

Published on: 6 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 9 Mar, 2022

Essentially laying a hedge allows the component trees to regenerate allowing continuity in the hedgerow, extending its life.

Local volunteers are working to restore and preserve our hedgerows as part of a partnership between Guildford Borough Council and Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Hedgerow Heritage Project.

The project plants and restores the traditional landscape of the North Downs and Surrey Hills AONB. By partnering with Surrey Wildlife Trust, which runs the project, the council is creating volunteer opportunities for people to learn vital green skills to protect nature and help wildlife thrive.

Cllr James Steel

Lead councillor for Environment, James Steel (Lib Dem, Westborough), said: “A huge thank you to our dedicated team of volunteers who are restoring hedgerows at Chantry Wood. The wood is one of our largest countryside sites, best known for its magnificent bluebell display in early spring, and a campsite. It offers wonderful space for wildlife and countryside escape for people too.

“So far, everyone involved has been expanding their knowledge of the local wildlife while learning traditional hedge laying. The skill of traditional hedge-laying is declining despite the many ecological benefits it offers.

Without the regeneration caused by the laying the hedge will mature and start to die.

“Hedges support wildlife and biodiversity, providing a thriving ecosystem for rare species such as the small blue butterfly, brown long-eared bats, and birds such as yellowhammers. It’s fantastic that we can attract these creatures to our green spaces again.”

A council spokesperson said: “Working with the Hedgerow Heritage Project is just one of the ways that we are enhancing the traditional landscape of our local countryside. Each year in our borough we carefully maintain our hedges, verges and trees.

“We carry out regular inspections on trees at our parks, countryside sites, car parks, cemeteries and all council housing land. We maintain over 3.8 million square metres of grass across Guildford.

Here saplings have been planted which can eventually be laid to form a hedge.

“The project is open for anyone to get involved. With over two kilometres of hedges there are endless opportunities. Visit the project website for more information or register your interest in becoming a volunteer.

Under the expert supervision of members of the Surrey Hedgerow Group in December 2021, a volunteer group of mainly Duke of Edinburgh students laid part of the hedge at the campsite at Chantry Woods.

The project, run by Surrey Wildlife Trust and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, provides opportunities for the communities to restore and plant hedgerows on sites in the North Downs and Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB).

Katy Fielding, hedgerow heritage project officer at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said: “Hedgerows are like a silver bullet for climate change and wildlife in urban, suburban or rural areas. They already store nine million tonnes of carbon in the UK and take up a lot less space than forests. Put simply, hedgerows provide one of the most convenient and compact climate change solutions there is.

“Protecting us from wind, flooding, drought, pollution and soil erosion. Hedgerows also provide safe passage, shelter, roosting opportunities, an all-year-round food source for birds, bats, bees, butterflies and dormouse to name a few. They pack a big punch for their size, and we want to get everyone planting and laying hedgerows from back gardens through woods and open farmlands.”

More can be found about how parks, trees and green spaces are maintained here.



Share This Post

Responses to Volunteers Lay Hedges to Restore Green Networks for Local Wildlife

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    March 7, 2022 at 10:16 am

    The credibility of Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) and Guildford Borough Council as defenders of our wildlife has been fatally undermined by the Local Plan that Guildford passed into law in the dying days of the last Conservative administration [2019].

    The unsustainable “new towns” that the council included in that plan will do more to destroy wildlife corridors and biodiversity than the council and Surrey Wildlife Trust will ever be able to “mitigate”.

    One of many shocking examples of the impotence of the Trust and its failure to protect wildlife was the illegal removal of the Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) from Three Farms Meadow at Wisley/Ockham.

    In a “note” that Guildford failed to publish during Mr Bore’s Inspection of the Local Plan, he pointed out that the SNCI designation was incompatible with allocating the site for a new town. Guildford’s planning department then leant on Surrey County Council to remove the designation from 90 per cent of the site.

    The SCC officer wrote: “Personally, I would be in breach of my profession’s code of conduct to undervalue an identified ecological resource because there was a potential conflicting land use and I do not consider it appropriate for the SLSP [Surrey Local Sites Partnership[ to redraw the boundary.”

    What did Guildford Borough Council do? It redrew the boundary!

    This was a manoeuvre more redolent of Putin’s Russia than an English local authority.

  2. Robert Burch Reply

    March 9, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    Ben Paton should not draw comparisons with the Russian government. They are not appropriate given the situation in Ukraine and the repression in Russia. Many question political processes in the UK and don’t like decisions made, but we face no consequences for voicing opinions.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *