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THE GREAT HEDGE CREATION PROJECT

Updated: Mar 7

UPDATE: Planting resumes (and hopefully completes!) 14th March


How it began:


On the morning of 19th February, a small group of us assembled in somewhat damp and dismal weather underneath the overpass close to Yanley Lane in Long Ashton. We’d erected a gazebo that blew erratically in the wind and put up a plastic table optimistically laid out with cardboard coffee cups, milk of various sorts and biscuits. We slipped and slid in the mud as we carried up an unbelievably heavy bucket of wooden-handled rubber mallets and carefully laid out an array of shining spades both large and small.



Six days before, we’d planted 30 small saplings. A mix of oak and field maple, each is destined to grow into a large tree. 15 metres separate each one from its neighbour and each individual tree-to-be is carefully protected by a biodegradable tree guard and supported by a stake.



With a total length of some 420 metres or so, we'd quickly discovered that the first 200 metres or so were really stony - so stony that we could barely get a spade in further than a few centimetres. Planting another 1000 saplings in this ground would take serious, hard effort which understandably might not go down well with the volunteers. The weather was inclement and not conducive to hard work in the drizzle, wind, rain and mud. Not only this but once we’d done this stretch, there were still another 4000 saplings that needed to be planted just across the road.



It was, we knew from the start, an ambitious project but now we’d started, it had assumed a stature and identity all of its own so it had become known to us as The Great Hedge Creation Project.



The project takes wing:


A name is one thing but would the vital component of the volunteers turn up?  We were nervous, for sure but not for long. The first people appear, and then a few more. The trickle turns into a flood and soon there were 30 people assembled for their briefing in order to learn how to plant saplings are planted well enough to stand a good chance of survival. 



Despite the horrors of the stony ground, the row of planted saplings slowly increased and disappeared over the brow of the hill. By the end of the day, far more had been planted than we could have ever hoped for. And, even better, people had really enjoyed themselves discovering new friends, making interesting connections and in some cases reconnecting with people. The feedback was amazing with people coming from all over North Somerset and Bristol; some as corporate volunteers and some as local residents.



By the end of the first five days, over 150 volunteers had given their time, energy and enthusiasm to plant 5,000 saplings. And each day, whatever the weather, there was the same story of good will, good cheer and positive energy. More people joined in with a close neighbour appearing with cakes that went down exceedingly well. But sadly, the weather was against us and waterlogged ground meant that we had to cancel the weekend that had been scheduled for the final push of planting and mulching. 



So, what comes next?


The delay gives other people a chance to get involved when we re-assemble Thursday 14th March. If you want to join in the fun, please email either treeplanting@n-somerset.gov.uk or LANCET2021@protonmail.com



And to read why, what and where we’re planting The Great Hedge, please check out our previous blog.







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