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Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Surrey Wildlife Trust announced recently that their Hedgerow Heritage project has been awarded £56,600 in development funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The initial funding will allow the Surrey Wildlife Trust to further develop their plans for the Hedgerow Heritage project and apply for a full National Lottery grant of nearly half a million pounds in July 2019.
The project itself aims to revive traditional hedge planting and laying skills in the local community. With a focus on young people, ranging from school children to youth groups, the project aims to involve thousands of local people in the restoration of hedgerows, all within the iconic landscape of the North Downs, part of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
With two thirds of England being continuously hedged for over a thousand years, there is a rich tradition of hedgerow management techniques in Surrey and the project aims to pass on these skills from local hedge laying societies to community volunteers, landowners, farm managers and private sector contractors.
The project will see the planting, restoration and protection of more than 80 kilometres of hedgerows in Surrey and is part of a countywide strategy to reverse the fragmentation of the countryside and encourage stewardship of the landscape in the future.
Andrew Jamieson, project development manager at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said: “We’re delighted to win this funding from the National Lottery players. It is an incredible opportunity to engage with local communities, to keep heritage hedgerow skills alive and pass on expertise from one generation to the next.”
There is no denying, this is a significant project and the importance of well maintained hedgerows should not be underestimated.
Hedgerows are not merely field boundaries, they play a vital role in our delicate ecosystem, providing habitat for flora and fauna and enabling species such as dormice, bats, insects and butterflies to travel safely across the landscape. In addition hedgerows prevent soil erosion and provide a natural barrier to reduce pesticides and fertilisers reaching our streams and rivers.
We certainly wish this project every success and as corporate sponsors of the Surrey Wildlife Trust we will be watching this development with enthusiasm.
If you would like more information regarding the Hedgerow Heritage project or any other Surrey Wildlife Trust project please visit the Surrey Wildlife Trust website for further information.
We’ve covered a number of environmental issues on the Landscaping Solutions blog over recent months. As a subject matter close to our hearts we try to offer practical support wherever possible.
For instance, we have been corporate sponsors of the Surrey Wildlife Trust for several years now and have just renewed our support for 2018.
Formed in 1959 the trust manages 82 sites in total, covering almost 8000ha. They are the only organisation in Surrey that cares for all forms of wildlife and they are doing some incredible work.
On a daily basis the trust works closely with schools, communities and volunteers across Surrey, informing and involving people actively in nature. Over 15,000 children and young people now benefit annually from a wide variety of outdoor learning courses and activities thanks to the work Surrey Wildlife Trust carries out.
Surrey is host to some wonderful habitats and the Wildlife Trusts works closely with partners and landowners to advise on land management for conservation, with particular emphasis on woodland, wetlands and heathland. In addition, the trust also regularly runs campaigns in an effort to save precious habitats and vulnerable species.
Unfortunately in the current political climate of government cuts and lack of funding, many of the habitats and species in question are coming under constant pressure from a variety of threats.
This lack of funding can make the difference between a species thriving or becoming locally extinct (one recent example would be the Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly which is now extinct in Surrey due to woods becoming overgrown) and for that reason it is more crucial then ever that we support these bodies in the work they do.
Landscaping Solutions company director Ben West has been a member of the Wildlife Trusts since he was a young boy. Initially a member of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Ben quickly became a member of the Surrey Wildlife Trust when he moved to the area around 15 years ago.
“Through the years I started to develop a growing awareness of the threats to our native wildlife and landscapes through habitat destruction, pollution and poor land management. I understood the crucial part the wildlife trusts play and started to volunteer with them and other bodies to help manage their reserves”.
A great deal of the work carried out by the Wildlife Trusts and trusts like them is volunteer led and it’s this ongoing support that allows them to continue their vital work.
Along with the Wildlife Trusts Landscaping Solutions also support the RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, Wessex Chalk Streams and Rivers Trust, Bumblebee Conservation and the Denmark Farm Conservation Centre.
Whether its corporate sponsorship, personal membership or looking after the wildlife on your patch, by supporting conservation bodies, together we can make a difference!
Further information regarding the Surrey Wildlife Trust and their work can be found at surreywildlifetrust.org