Volunteers needed for exciting new phase of CPRE Hampshire Hedgerow Heroes initiative

CPRE Hampshire are delighted to announce receipt of further funding from the national CPRE countryside charity, to launch the second phase of the Hampshire Hedgerow Heroes project. This new phase of work will see the charity working with partner organisation Hampshire County Council and its County Farms team. The charity will be teaming up with County Farms’ tenant, Richard Stiles, to plant and restore some 2km of hedges, including on part of the public coastal footpath in Titchfield near Fareham. The plan is to continue to work with local communities, schools and other partners such as the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species. CPRE Hampshire is looking for volunteers to assist with this work.

The project aims to enhance the quality of the landscape, grow local community engagement and raise awareness of the importance of hedgerows for wildlife, climate and sustainable farming. Hedgerows play an enormously important role in the health and diversity of our countryside and CPRE Hampshire are backing the Climate Change Committee’s call for a 40% increase in hedgerows by 2050. We urgently need to encourage more nature-based solutions if we are to tackle the ever-increasing climate emergency and hedgerows play a key role in absorbing and storing carbon.

For this phase, CPRE Hampshire are looking to build a small team of volunteers to join the Hedgerow Heroes project in Titchfield, south-west Fareham. As part of the team and led by a range of experts, volunteers will carry out a range of practical tasks, including hedge-planting, hedge-laying, assessing the quality and health of existing hedgerow and surveying to help ascertain the current wildlife value of the existing hedges.

Boyd McCleary, the lead on hedgerows at CPRE Hampshire, said: “It’s a great opportunity to gain practical experience as well as developing your knowledge of the humble hedgerow and all it has to offer. We are very happy to be working with one of Hampshire County Council’s County Farms tenants on this.”

Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage and Rural Affairs, said: “It is fantastic that Richard is joining forces with CPRE Hampshire to create more hedgerows as part of his commitment to a more natural approach to land management. Hedgerows bring so many benefits including safer habitats for birds, insects and small mammals. The Hedgerows Heroes project is also offering a great opportunity for people to volunteer their time to learn new skills and spend time in our beautiful countryside. This is a great example of how the County Council is working hand in hand with all our farm estate tenants to encourage agricultural practices that are better for Hampshire’s environment.”

Richard has recently taken over tenancy of Upper Brownwich Farm and is looking at a more regenerative agricultural approach to land management. He hopes to include using less fertilisers, some grazing, cover crops and the introduction of wildlife margins.

Richard added: “We are working on lots of new plans for the farm and it will be great to engage with the local community on achieving some of these goals. It’s a fantastic part of the county to be based in and I’m looking forward to working with CPRE Hampshire on the Hedgerow Heroes project.”

To find out more information and to express your interest in volunteering, please email ellie.banks@cprehampshire.org.uk by Friday 29 July 2022. The project is looking to start in August 2022.