We are working with local volunteers on Surrey Wildlife Trust’s  Hedgerow Heritage Project to restore hedges in our borough.

The project plants and restores the traditional landscape of the North Downs and Surrey Hills AONB, and it provides bigger, better, and more joined up landscapes for wildlife. By partnering with Surrey Wildlife Trust, who run the project, we are creating volunteer opportunities for people to learn vital green skills to protect nature and help wildlife thrive.

Lead Councillor for Environment, Cllr James Steel, said:

“A huge thank you to our dedicated team of volunteers who are restoring hedgerows at Chantry Wood. Chantry Wood is one of our largest countryside sites, best known for its magnificent bluebells display in early spring, and a campsite. It offers wonderful space for wildlife and countryside escape for people too.

“So far, everyone involved has been expanding their knowledge of the local wildlife while learning traditional hedge laying. The skill of traditional hedge-laying is declining despite the many ecological benefits it offers.

“Hedges support wildlife and biodiversity, providing a thriving ecosystem for rare species such as the small blue butterfly, brown long-eared bats, and birds such as yellowhammers. It’s fantastic that we can attract these creatures to our green spaces again.”

Working with the Hedgerow Heritage Project is just one of the ways that we are enhancing the traditional landscape of our local countryside. Each year in our borough we carefully maintain our hedges, verges and trees. We carry out regular inspections on trees at our parks, countryside sites, car parks, cemeteries and all council housing land. We maintain over 3.8 million square metres of grass across Guildford. You can find out more on how we maintain our parks, trees and green spaces on our website.

The project is open for anyone to get involved. With over 2km of hedges there are endless opportunities. Visit the project website for more information or register you interest in becoming a volunteer.

Under the expert supervision of members of the Surrey Hedgerow Group in December 2021, a volunteer group of mainly Duke of Edinburgh students, laid part of the hedge at the campsite at Chantry Woods.

The project, run by Surrey Wildlife Trust and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, provides opportunities for the communities to restore and plant hedgerows on sites in the North Downs and Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB).

Katy Fielding, Hedgerow Heritage project officer at Surrey wildlife Trust, said:

“Hedgerows are like a silver bullet for climate change and wildlife in urban, suburban or rural areas. They already store nine million tonnes of carbon in the UK and take up a lot less space than forests. Put simply, hedgerows provide one of the most convenient and compact climate change solutions there is.

“Protecting us from wind, flooding, drought, pollution and soil erosion. Hedgerows also provide safe passage, shelter, roosting opportunities, an all-year-round food source for birds, bats, bees, butterflies and dormouse to name a few. They pack a big punch for their size, and we want to get everyone planting and laying hedgerows from back gardens through woods and open farmlands.”