Boost for the environment as volunteers plant 100-metre hedge at Linslade Memorial Playing Fields

The initiative coincided with National Tree Week

By News Reporter
Friday, 10th December 2021, 12:05 pm

A 100-metre mixed hedge has been planted to enhance the attractiveness of Linslade Memorial Playing Fields, help wildlife and tackle climate change.

Town councillors of all parties, MP Andrew Selous, The Wharf Management Committee, South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth, local residents, and national charity The Tree Council came together for the planting on Saturday, December 4 as part of National Tree Week.

Funded by Network Rail, the hedge runs alongside The Wharf and contains a range of native species and some more formal flowering shrubs so that it provides a range of flowers/nectar for bees and butterflies, plus berries and nesting sites for birds.

LEFT: Andrew Selous planting trees with Lewis Morrison from the Tree Council, and Cllr Harvey. RIGHT: Cllr Morris, Cllr Perham, Cllr Harvey and Chris Stevenson.

Cllrs Carberry ( Labour) Snelling ( Lib Dem), and Perham (Conservative) worked really hard planting the shrubs. The mayor Cllr Kharawala, Cllr Morris, Cllr Jones, Cllr Freeman (Independent), Cllr Palmer and Mr Selous all came to give support.

The Wharf (Leighton Buzzard) Management Committee has signed a legal agreement with Leighton-Linslade Town Council who own the park, committing to looking after and maintaining the hedge because, as well as really enhancing the attractiveness of the park for all users, it will help protect the fence to the Wharf.

This hedge is therefore at no cost to the town council. South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth will help look after the hedge.

Cllr Victoria Harvey, who helped organise the project said: “This will really enhance the attractiveness of the park for all residents who use it as well as helping butterflies, bees and birds.

Planting at the start of the day

“The shrubs look small at the moment but they will grow up to from a fantastic mix of flowering shrubs to make a home for wildlife.

“Planting small young shrubs means that the roots establish well and the hedge is healthier and lasts longer. This is a huge thank you to Network Rail, the Tree Council, the Wharf Management Committee, South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth, the Town Council for giving permission, and all the councillors and local residents who worked so hard on Saturday.”

Sara Lom, CEO of The Tree Council, said: “As the umbrella charity for the UK tree sector, we’re delighted with this opportunity to join with local communities and other conservation charities to plant and care for more trees and hedgerows across the country. Working together, we can tackle climate change, help alleviate flooding and provide new wildlife habitats, as well as establish a legacy of beauty in our towns, cities, villages and countryside.”

Ken Barry, coordinator of South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth, said: “Hedges and shrubs in urban areas are so important for birds, butterflies and bees and helping tackle climate change. It was wonderful to see so many people there."

Community groups, councillors and MP at the end of the day's planting

The hedge includes Hawthorn, Field Maple, Buckthorn, Spindle, Wayfaring Tree, Guelder Rose, Dogwood, Elder, Gorse, Philadephus, Berberris, Holly, and Cotoneaster.

Mr Selous added: “I am delighted to see this new hedge planted in the town. Hedges are so important for wildlife and I hope that everyone fortunate enough to have space in their garden will plant Hawthorn or Bay or other trees and shrubs to provide a haven for local wildlife and to absorb carbon.”

The project is part of Network Rail’s £1 million four-year community tree planting programme, run in partnership with The Tree Council to support local councils, community groups and other conservation organisations to plant trees, hedgerows and orchards across the country.

> On Saturday, December 11 (10am -1.30pm) in Orchard Drive and then Grange Close, there is another big hedge and some trees being planted alongside the fence with the railway by the Tree Council thanks to funding from Network Rail and with permission from Central Beds Council.