Hedge-Laying Revival at Skelton Grange

Funding from  the CEMEX Community Fund has been giving the enthusiastic volunteers at Skelton Grange Environment Centre a chance to travel back in time and learn woodland management skills, including the ancient art of hedge laying… with some real “cutting ‘edge” tools.

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Volunteer Ben Lawson using a Yorkshire Billhook to lay a hawthorn hedge

Every Friday in February and March, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) will be working to improve the woodland and hedgerow habitats at Skelton Grange Environment Centre; creating an amazing home for wildlife and a very special space to people to visit. As well as reviving valuable traditional techniques, the group is restoring 80 metres of leggy hawthorn to a natural wildlife corridor and managing the woodlands beyond. No experience is necessary; volunteers will be trained in skills including coppicing, habitat box creation and the traditional art of hedge-laying!

“It’s great to be able to learn a skill that’s in danger of being lost” explained Louise Gibson, a Volunteer Officer who has been involved with the Friday sessions with the Skelton Grange Green Team; “It’s very satisfying to see the hedge gradually taking shape and I always sleep well afterwards!”

Skelton Grange Environment Centre is managed by The Conservation Volunteers to provide an engaging space for outdoor education sessions with local children as well as a haven for wildlife in a heavily industrialised area of South Leeds. The “Cutting ‘edge” project has been supported with a grant of £10,200 by the CEMEX Community Fund, a dedicated grant resource for enabling and assisting communities local to a CEMEX quarry or landfill site to carry out projects which improve or enhance local community facilities and places of interest. Locally based CEMEX employees will also be joining the volunteer group to support some of the work.

“It’s important to be able to make natural connections, like hedgerows, to join up wild and green spaces.” commented Toby Roberts, TCV Skelton Project Officer. “It allows biodiversity to flourish, and enables local wildlife to move safely between suitable habitats which are often fragmented in urban areas, so this funding will make a real difference to the natural environment as well as creating an improved experience for visitors to the centre.”

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The Green Team meets at Skelton Grange every Friday between 9:30am and 3pm, if you would like to get involved with our up-coming practical conservation events or find out how else you can support our volunteers visit www.tcv.org.uk/skeltongrange or phone the centre on (0113) 243 0815.