In October last year I was successful in a grant application to the North York Moors National Park as part of their Traditional Boundary Scheme.
The application focussed on planting a new hedge, following a 700 metre stretch of the National Trust’s boundary at Roseberry Topping.
With over 4,200 trees to plant, the task was no small undertaking. At the start of January, with help from National Trust volunteer John, we started on the first section, quickly getting to grips with the hedge planting routine yet barely scratching the surface of what needed to be done.
We needed some extra hands!
I called on the help of a range of volunteers from different organisations to help us complete the hedge.
Some facts and figures:
29 different volunteers helped plant the hedge, with time given from the North York Moors HOBS group, a Ordnance Survey work party and our very own National Trust Midweek volunteers and Sunday volunteers
That equates to about 318.5 hours of hard work from volunteers, or 49 work days
With help from 3 members of staff, a total of 461.5 hours of individual work was undertaken
We planted over 4,200 trees, put in 4,200 stakes and wrapped around 4,200 spiral tree guards over 700 meters of our boundary
That equated to 86 bundles of trees, 17 bags of stakes and 17 boxes of guards, hefted up and over muddy footpaths to site, that’s without the additional tools necessary for the job
2,940 Hawthorn, 420 Blackthorn, 252 Hazel, 210 Dog Rose, 126 Guelder Rose, 126 Field Maple, 126 Crab Apple and 20 Sessile Oak were planted
All materials for the project cost just over £2,000
We also created 20 habitat piles close to the new hedge using brash taken from existing trees in the hedgeline, which will allow light into the new trees but also provide additional valuable habitat
And finally, to keep us going we ate two batches of Alan’s Peanut Slice, some of Gill’s Potato & Pesto Roll, Chris’ Banana Loaf, Margaret’s birthday Fruit Loaf, along with a box of Fox’s Biscuits, a box of Cadbury Roses and a box of Nestle Quality Street. I thought I was putting on weight…
At any opportunity, I think it’s important to praise the help the National Trust receives from volunteers. As always, we couldn’t do what we do without you.
Through snow, rain and sunshine, smiles, groans and laughter, hard graft, thorned fingers and heavy calorie consumption – we finally completed the hedge in early February, just over one month after John and I started.
And so, what was the reason for planting the hedge?
Traditional field boundaries, specifically dry stones walls and hedges, are a major part of the landscape character of the North York Moors National Park. The purpose of the National Park’s scheme is to encourage these to be managed or restored.
Specifically with the hedge at Roseberry Topping, there is evidence of a previous, older hedge having been in place along part of the current boundary, with a number of mature, sparsely grown Hawthorn trees along its way. We wanted to re-instate this historic feature.
Also, the wildlife value of creating a new hedge will be considerably huge, creating shelter, food, nesting spots and valuable habitat for a huge range of species – from flowers and insects, to birds and small mammals. It will also form a wildlife corridor, allowing species to move between different habitats and allowing the continuation of viable populations.
Finally, with the hedge being alongside a public footpath, we can take a walk alongside it and enjoy it individually, seeing it establish over the coming years!