The National Trust for Jersey’s ‘Hedge Fund Project’ has paid dividends in its third year of investment. The trust’s marketing manager, Donna Le Marrec, reports:
- 55,000 hedging whips planted to date measuring over 30 miles in length;
- Sponsorship from members and the public at £5.00 per metre has raised £30,500;
- HSBC – donations from Green Loans initiative has contributed £13,250;
- Government’s Countryside Enhancement Scheme grants received to date £83,000;
- Focus area at Crabbé to link Grève de Lecq Woods and Le Mourier Valley;
- Project Officer costs covered by the Roy Overland Charitable Trust for the past 3 years;
- Volunteers sought to help with maintenance.
The lead up to Christmas 2021 has seen more than 10,000 hedging whips planted around the field boundaries of Crabbé, measuring some 7.5 miles in length, in the northern parishes of St Mary and St Ouen. Using survey data taken by the Government of Jersey’s Environment Department, this area was flagged up as being lacking in effective hedges and all the benefits they provide for wildlife, as well as the environment in general. As the hedgerows grow and develop, they will act as corridors to connect the two heavily wooded areas in these two parishes, namely Grève de Lecq woods and Le Mourier Valley.
The National Trust is carrying out an extensive tree planting project on both sides of Le Mourier Valley in conjunction with Trees for Life, making the connective planting more effective and beneficial for all sorts of wildlife.
2021 has been the third consecutive year that the National Trust has been carrying out its large scale Hedge Fund planting project in areas lacking in hedges – and therefore connectivity and habitat for wildlife.
After planting 20,000 in each of the two previous winters, this was always going to be a year of consolidation, taking stock and account of the preceding planting seasons.
Again, in partnership with The Jersey Royal Company, the field boundaries were identified and cleared in preparation for planting. Their input and knowledge has been invaluable, not least in supplying labour, particularly with the current employment issues effected by Covid-19. A team of six of their staff carried out the planting in some quite hostile weather conditions, including Storm Arwen that produced some fearsome gales and potent hail and rain showers.
The focus area that has been planted is exposed and elevated, so only native species able to cope with the conditions will survive. Even trees will struggle in this environment, so only a few are to be planted further inland and away from the coastal escarpment. The hedging whips are being protected against rabbits and initial wind scorch by biodegradable spiral guards. Maintenance has once again been factored in to ensure the whips do not become smothered by vegetation.
In such an exposed area, however, some cover can be regarded as beneficial in their early stages of a hedge’s development. Volunteers will be encouraged to sign up to assist with the aftercare as will corporate partners and commercial entities who will be able to put their efforts into helping an important local environmental project.
Funding for the planting, materials and plants has been provided by The Government’s Countryside Enhancement Scheme (CES), promoted and run by the Natural Environment section with nearly £30,000 being granted. The planting records and maps will be loaded digitally on to the Jersey Biodiversity Centre website, which will assist with monitoring and planting initiatives in the future.
The Roy Overland Charitable Trust has also continued its financial support, providing funding for officer time for the planning, monitoring and management throughout the year. Donations continue to roll in with contributions of £5.00 per metre mounting up, resulting in the potential for planting an additional 2,500 hedging whips.
The National Trust is also offering gift cards to allow members and the public to donate to the Hedge Fund project as well as having individual trees planted in other locations around the Island, offered by the Trust. Details for these purchases can be found on the Trust’s website and include spring bulbs, such as snowdrops and bluebells. https://www.nationaltrust.je/a-gift-for-nature/
The field boundaries planted to date are still being cared for and monitored. The statistics are impressive with 55,000 whips being planted to date measuring over 30 miles in length.
Maintenance visits carried out by a group of keen and dedicated volunteers, some of whom also helped with the initial planting, are now complete. Losses throughout the areas planted have been recorded that will result in replacements being planted to ensure the continued success and longevity of the project.
With the support of Jersey Royal, land owners and our generous funders we have been able to initiate an immensely important hedgerow restoration project, which will secure enormous environmental benefits for the Island in the longer term. We hope to be able to further develop this initial pilot project in years to come so that the Island has a hedgerow network of which it can be duly proud and which will help safeguard our wildlife and rural landscape character.