Watlington's Hedgerow Project Take 2
Saturday the 7th January had dawned wet and wild but the worst of the weather avoided the fifteen volunteers gathered in West Meadow. Our task was to plant new hedge plants to replace those that had succumbed to last summer’s extremely hot dry weather. More than half of the young native plants in the West Meadow hedge (planted in winter 2012-2022) had survived and there was also some good growth on the coppiced hawthorn trees, but we were keen to plant new whips (young hedgerow plants) to replace those that had died. Many thanks to Nigel Adams, Charlotte Moss, Roselle Chapman, Tom Bindoff, Richard Walkling, Alex Facy and Jackie Gaff for their input. Nigel and Charlotte visited the hedge during the autumn to identify and mark those plants that had died. Nigel also provided plants and expertise on hedge planting. Wild Oxfordshire, through their Community Ecologist Roselle Chapman, supported the organisation of the event and provided some funding. Tom Bindoff provided young hawthorn plants that had been removed from Aston Rowant Nature Reserve as part of chalk grassland management, an excellent use of locally sourced plants that would otherwise be destroyed. Richard Walkling provided a homemade portable stile so we could climb over the fence to access the hedgerow. Alex Facy provided electricity for hot drinks. Jackie Gaff co-ordinated the volunteers and kept us all fuelled with coffee and cinnamon buns from the Orange Bakery. Many thanks also to everyone who turned up to help, what a great team effort! As before, the mix of species included hawthorn, hazel, spindle, buckthorn, field maple, crab apple, dog rose and wild plum. This mix should ensure an extended flowering season and varied food sources for wildlife. Hay provided from Aston Rowant was spread around the plants to suppress weed growth and may also help to retain more moisture. We hope that the plants will thrive to provide a rich hedge habitat in years to come. This project is part of Watlington’s Green Plan, a collaboration between WCAG and WEG to improve local biodiversity and explore opportunities for natural carbon sequestration.
Volunteers wanted! If you would like to get involved and support our group we are looking for committee members and project volunteers. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!
By Fiona Danks