Thames Chase Community Forest (covering 40 square miles in east London and south-west Essex) has been involved in several hedgerow creation and improvement projects across their sites, most recently working in partnership with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and the Mayor of London’s ‘Greener City Fund’ to lay hedges at Eastbrookend Country Park in Dagenham.
The hedgelaying at Eastbrookend Country Park included the ancient practice of bending and partial cutting (pleaching) through the stems of a line of suitable aged trees near ground level and arching the stems without breaking them, so they could grow horizontally and be intertwined.
The original purpose of this was to contain livestock, but now it serves to maintain important habitat, promote traditional skills and improve the aesthetics of the location. Where needed, young trees were also planted to fill any gaps in the hedge.
The Thames Chase Conservation Volunteers will return next winter to complete more work on the hedge and plant standard oak trees along its 600 metre length.
If you’ve been inspired this National Hedgerow Week to help improve these incredibly valuable assets, get in touch with your local Community Forest and discover more with a downloadable fun guide to help you #TalkToTheHedge, plus more fab resources on the National Hedgerow Week website at NationalHedgerowWeek.org.uk
And find out more about Eastbrookend Country Park