New hedges at Thame Showground

21st Century Thame volunteers have been working hard with the Showground Trustees to plan and create two new hedges.

The first hedge was planted up on 9th March, with the team at last enjoying some beautiful spring weather after a very wet tree-planting season so far. This stretches between the Showground and the far boundary of Chinnor Rugby Club, complementing the nearby row of tall silver birch recently installed by the Club.

The whips used were surplus orders kindly donated by HS2 contractors. The team were also able to mend some gaps in hawthorn hedge in other areas of the Showground border, which got the approval of some very curious donkeys grazing on the other side of the hedge.

On 16th and 18th March, groups of volunteers gathered to complete a longer section of hedge by the copse at the far end of the site. The new section links up an existing mature hedge with the copse, incorporating the lone hawthorn left standing as a remnant of the former hedge that ran along the same line.

Site of new hedge – linking the established hedge and the copse

Planting was hard going in this area with some old trackway underneath the intended line of hedge. With the lovely sight and sound of numerous skylarks rising from the fields on either side of the hedge, the volunteers all happily kept going without complaint.

This will be a varied and beautiful hedge through the seasons as it matures, with red and yellow dogwood, spindle, hazel, hawthorn, dog rose and field maple. Hawthorn, hazel and dog rose will be particularly beneficial in offering food for pollinators in succession from spring through to summer. Spindle, dogwood, and hawthorn will produce autumn berries for birds, with hazel leaving nuts for small mammals and birds. Spindle is a less familiar small tree or large shrub, but unmistakable in the autumn with its unique bright pink fruit capsules with orange seeds. Although the many skylarks on the site are ground nesting and will use the field rather than the hedge, other species such as tits, robins, blackbirds and some finches will nest within the hedge. Hedgehogs especially like to follow linear structures as they roam at night and will benefit from the improved continuity of the hedge around the site.

We were very grateful to our grant funder, South Oxfordshire District Council, provided through the Trust for Oxfordshire Environment, for full provision of the material costs of the project.

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