A new mixed-species hedgerow has been planted in Great Barton as part of Suffolk County Council’s Suffolk 2020 project to plant 100,000 trees and 15 kilometres of hedgerow over the next 12 months. This will create new habitats and wildlife corridors in multiple areas of Suffolk to support local biodiversity. It is the first of six farms on the Council’s County Farm estate to benefit from the planting of new hedgerows this winter.

Suffolk County Council is working closely with the Woodland Trust, the Suffolk Tree Warden Network, local landowners and contractors, and its County Farm tenants, to deliver this ambitious project. Giles Landscapes are undertaking the hedge planting during February and March, which will total around 10 Kilometres (just over six miles) of new hedgerow, consisting of around 50,000 plants of mixed native species such as hawthorn, field maple, hazel and dogwood.

Hedgerows are important features of Suffolk’s agricultural landscape, providing a habitat for many species and ‘corridors’ for wildlife to move through them. All the the planting stock being used is UK sourced and grown to reduce plant health risks and improve biosecurity, with much of the stock being supplied by The Woodland Trust. Local straw mulch is being used to reduce competition from weeds and to help retain moisture as the hedges become established. The tenant farmers will continue to maintain the hedgerows located on their land. As part of the preparation for this project, 40 miles of existing hedges were surveyed with a drone and on foot by a local specialist company based in Suffolk, Hardy Woodlands and Forestry, utilising a range of mapping technology to provide data to the project team.

Graham Borley, tenant farmer at Great Barton said:

“I welcome the planting of these new hedgerows on the land I farm and I think Giles Landscaping have done an excellent job. I look forward to seeing them flourish over time and provide a home for a range of wildlife and other wild flowers and plants. I’m pleased to play a part in helping local biodiversity.”

Councillor Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, said:

“I’m really pleased to see the first new hedgerow established as part of the Suffolk 2020 tree planting project. The team is now working its way across the county to plant similar areas of hedgerow.

“This project is directly linked to the motion I seconded at Full Council in December when I was very pleased to see all councillors who attended the meeting, offer their full support to increase Suffolk’s biodiversity, halt the loss of habitats and species, and reintroduce declining species in suitable locations. The Council is committed to continuing to lead by example through the use of our land by adopting biodiversity-friendly land management practices where possible.

“I want to thank all partners involved in this project, it is a real Suffolk team effort and with the support of landowners, tenants, local communities and contractors, Tree Wardens and The Woodland Trust we are making a real difference. I hope our efforts encourage more of Suffolk’s farmers to invest in their hedges and conservation management.”