Over a kilometre of new hedgerow has been planted on the Englefield Estate in Theale, Berkshire, as part of a scheme to enhance biodiversity and create new habitats.
1180 metres of new hedge has been planted, comprising 7,000 trees and shrubs, as well as 4,400 square metres of new scrub woodland, extending existing habitats and linking hedgerows to create wildlife corridors across the Estate.
Planted across two sites on the Estate, native tree species, including hawthorn, blackthorn, cherry and hazel, have been carefully chosen to provide food sources and habitats for birds, as well as nectar for insects.
Rob Allen, from the Englefield Estate’s Forestry Team, explained: “Extending and creating new hedgerows supports hundreds of species. They’re like an ecological hotspot, creating safe places for birds to nest, insects to live and feed, and mammals to collect and store food.
“The new hedgerows allow for easier access for many animals to migrate around the local area, whilst staying safe under the cover of the hedge. The plant species chosen have flowers and fruit which provide valuable food sources for bees, butterflies and other pollenating insects as well as birds.”
3,500 acres of the Englefield Estate is woodland, providing a sustainable source of timber, open space for public access and habitat for important flora and fauna. All the woodland is managed under a long-term plan to ensure that a sustainable timber crop can be harvested.
Rob added: “Establishing new hedgerows and small plantings nearby can help to keep wildlife corridors open so that animals, flora and fauna can continue to thrive.”
The hedge and scrub woodland planting was funded by the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE), with funding from Network Rail’s ‘No Net Loss of Biodiversity’ Greater West Programme.
Lynn Parker, Programme Manager at TOE, said: “The Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment is delighted to have funded over a kilometre of new hedgerow and a new woodland. Hedges provide vital connectivity through the landscape, which enables animals, from butterflies to hedgehogs and bats, to thrive.”