Planting Party: New Wildlife Hedge Created in Mepal

Fiona with representatives from Mepal parish council who made the project happen

Planting Party 

In March a remarkable 287 Hedge & Tree saplings were planted – by an even more remarkable 40 !! wonderful volunteers  

The lines of the Species Rich Hedge & Tree plants have been designed to create 2 large clearings with sheltered glades, providing sunny micro climates for Bumblebees, Butterflies, Dragonflies, & Humans alike.  

We hope in the future you will be able to sit peacefully on an East facing ‘Morning’ bench, wrapped in the protection of the Hedge, & later enjoy a warm Westerly ‘Evening’ bench as the sun sets. The clearings will be a calm, birdsong filled, sanctuary to just ‘be’.  

Along with purchasing the initial plants The Pride of Place Grant funds will also be used to buy native bulbs & plus plants – Snowdrops, & Wild Daffodil – naturalising across the clearings. (Please text Fiona if you would like to be involved in bulb planting). 

The Hedge will be free to grow & billow, until reaching her final height. Thereafter cutting in a soft ‘A’ shape (Year 1 cutting the top, Yr 2 the front, & Yr 3 the back). On a continual 3 yr rotation. By only cutting a third, each February, the Hedge will give maximum berries & shelter for birds & animals over winter. So, unlike many regularly clipped garden hedges, the wildlife benefitting 3 yr rotation system, means minimal maintenance & maximum vital homes & food.  

The Clearings are in prime ‘Newt Territory’ so all the hedge clippings (Brash) will be placed along & under the Hedge as a safe place for Newts, Ladybirds,  hibernating Bumblebees, & other animals like Hedgehogs. More Brash can be used to create wonderful ‘Wild Hedges’ that Jenny Wrens & Robins love to nest in.  

The planned 1 metre wide strip of longer grass in front & behind the hedge will provide extra food & shelter for many – such as Song Thrush, Barn Owl & Hedgehog. 

Flying Teaspoons (Long Tailed Tits), Stormcocks (Mistle Thrushes), Song Thrush, Yellowhammers, Linnet, Robin, Wren, Greenfinches, & Grey Partridge all favour a deep Hedge to nest in. 

Gratifying to know we can help some birds that are – ‘Of High Concern’  

We planted Goat Willow & Silver Birch at regular intervals as ‘Grow Through’ Trees. Since these are not near buildings or a highway they won’t need any regular maintenance. Having grow through trees doubles the amount of ‘Life’ a Hedge can support. For example – living up to 300 yrs – Goat Willow, (also called Pussy Willow), is a vital source of Pollen & Nectar for early emerging Queen Bumblebees, & Butterflies like the Purple Emperor. 

We also planted Rowan, Field Maple (that can live up to 350 years !), and Alder Trees.

A large ‘Kings Oak’ was planted alongside the footpath that now runs behind the Clearings, plus a 2nd Oak near the Pavillion building.

Sadly Britain is one of the worlds most nature depleted countries, so as part of Mepals crucial ‘Nature Recovery Plan’ we will be applying for further ‘Pride of Place’ funding for House Sparrow, Blue Tit, & Starling nest boxes. Plus Swift, Bat & Hedgehog boxes.

‘Small but Mighty’, a good Hedge freely gives remarkable other benefits, like cooling in heat waves, soil conservation, reduced flood, & drought, plus less noise & air pollution. All whilst cleaning our air & water, storing carbon, & producing oxygen. What a wealth of goodness ! 

Truly Priceless


Thsi project partly came about as a result of a discussion that happened at an East Cambs CAN Earth Cafe

Fiona is the group’s Biodiversity officer and has many more wildlife projects in the pipeline.

Get in touch if you want to find out more about how to help: /

East Cambs CAN supporters Julie, Alan and Stuart along with Jethro (behind the Camera) were there on the day to support the hedge planting.