Volunteers helped plant new hedging along the western and southern boundaries of Knowle Park earlier this week.
The planting, funded by a Farming in Protected Landscapes grant, creates a valuable new wildlife corridor along the park boundaries.
Farming in Protected Landscapes was launched last summer to benefit nature recovery across England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The ‘Farming in Protected Landscapes’ (FiPL) scheme provides grants to farmers and land managers in the Surrey Hills for one-off projects to improve the natural environment, cultural heritage and public access on their land.
Volunteers planted a mix of native species, including Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Dog Rose, Hazel, Field maple and Bird Cherry.
Hedges are a fantastic natural resource that can provide food, shelter, and breeding sites for various wildlife, including dormice, birds, and bats.
They also provide pollen and nectar for bees and other pollinators and link habitats allowing wildlife to move across the landscape.
Hedgerows’ more comprehensive environmental benefits include improving water quality (trapping sediment, nutrients and pollutants before they reach watercourses) and air quality (removing particles and contaminants from the air).
During this climate crisis, new hedgerows can help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their wood.
Martin Bamford, Chairman of Knowle Park Trust, said:
As we continue with the project to create a new community parkland and event space for Cranleigh, the focus on ecology is paramount.
Planting thousands of new trees and shrubs across the site, including around a quarter of a mile of new hedgerow, is contributing to the local environment.
A heartfelt thank you to all of the volunteers who joined us to make this hedge planting happen, working their socks off on a warm March day to get so many whips in the ground.
Heather Kerswell, Chair of the Surrey Hills Board, said:
The Surrey Hills are enjoyed by millions of people every year and have increased in popularity over the pandemic. With no sign of this trend declining we need to make people aware that this is a living and working landscape that also supports a huge range of habitats and species. By supporting our farmers and land managers we can help protect the Surrey Hills and support our local communities.
This scheme provides a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference to nature recovery, and I urge our Surrey Hills farmers and land managers to apply for funding.