All of us who have been watching Wild Isles cannot fail to be amazed by our wonderful wildlife but at the same time affected by the terrible losses in each, and every sort of habitat. Woodlands are no exception. The woodland edge plays a particularly important role for supporting many species.
So, when Dorset Council showed Trees for Wimborne, a subgroup of Wilding Wimborne, where we could plant, it was evident that these places would create the opportunity for a variety of different ‘edges’.
At Dogdean SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space) we were given the opportunity to plant a hedge – which creates two edges! Traditionally, hedges were planted with one species, usually hawthorn, blackthorn or hazel to provide a stock-proof barrier, then other species of tree and shrub would become established over many years. But with biodiversity in mind, we planned to skip the centuries and ensured that from the start the hedge had a lot of variety. We wanted the hedge to develop different heights to create a variable structure, so tall trees providing a highway for bats, whilst vigorous growth at the base becoming a highway for small mammals.
We wanted the trees to give as long a flowering season as possible to keep bees and other pollinators happy, and we wanted trees that fruit and berry in autumn so there would be a much-needed food source to help wildlife survive the winters.
We were also given the opportunity to plant two corner areas, a woodland fringe behind the Brook Road Industrial Estate and enclosures on the Stourview SANG.
All these sites will provide those much-needed wildlife edges. At the same time these plantings were needed to screen against intrusions to the green spaces from the urban environment.
We planned all of these areas to be rich in variety, but individual to suit the ground conditions. Each one will attract its own population of insects and other wildlife. As with the hedges they will mark the seasons with a variety of catkins, blossom and bear a harvest bounty, this in addition to the different hues of green from a variety of leaf shape and colour which will help to create a feeling of peace and tranquillity.
After a year’s planning, resourcing, and implementation there are now 700 new trees planted by Trees for Wimborne and the wider public. There is little yet to see; just a proliferation of tree guards surrounded by mounds of protective bark chippings. Most of the trees have been provided by the Woodland Trust with some by the council, Upton Tree Specialists, and some by Trees for Wimborne members.
If you would like to become part of this venture, Email us on email@example.com.