A project in praise of the hedgerow

The Long Forest Project was launched at the National Botanic Garden of Wales on 27 September, and we're very pleased to be taking part...

Some of them may be thousands of years old, the remnants of woodland edges when the land was first cleared. Now they are the sinews of the Welsh landscape, offering nectar rich blossom for a profusion of buzzing insects.

The 27 September saw the launch of the Long Forest project at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. The aim is to deliver practical action- recruiting thousands of volunteers to plant 100,000 trees and improve around 120,000m of hedgerow. And this is partnership project between Keep Wales Tidy and the Woodland Trust, with support from the National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Esmée Fairburn Foundation.

Jerry Langford, the Woodland Trust’s Wales Director explains: “The criss-cross patchwork of hedgerows across our countryside is often taken for granted, but Wales would look very different without them. We’re looking forward to working to create a new movement to protect and restore our hedgerows. The Welsh landscape faces huge threats over the coming years; ash dieback could destroy hundreds of thousands of trees. Across the UK, the Woodland Trust aims to plant 20,000,000 trees outside woodland over the next ten years. We’re hoping that many of them will be planted as part of this exciting project.”

The Long Forest project aims to draw attention to the many benefits of hedgerows, for agriculture, wildlife and people. The aim is to train volunteers in surveying and restoring hedgerows and to engage the public through social media and a website, also getting the message across and shows and other events. This is an all Wales project with practical work planned for the four areas: Monmouthshire, Pembrokeshire, Anglesey and North East Wales (Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham).

One of the Woodland Trust’s key contributions will be through the provision of Tree Packs for use in the restoration of hedges. The Woodland Trust has distributed over 10,000 free tree packs to schools and communities across the UK. The Trust also offers support for landowners wishing to plant trees and create hedges on their land, from advice to subsidised trees. More about information about this and how to apply is available online at woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant