Tuesday 1st March 2016

Children from Charles Dickens Primary School, Southwark are planting hedges next week with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust as part of their stay at Wick Court, Arlingham near Gloucester with ‘Farms for City Children.’

“The hedge planting is part of the Severn Ponds project is funded by Biffa Award,” said Severn Hams reserves manager, Del Jones.
“The aim of the project is to create new habitat for amphibian species such as great crested newts and toads in the Severn Vale. New ponds are being created and old ponds restored, and we’re also connecting the ponds with trees and hedgerows which help to provide connected habitats for when they migrate from their breeding sites. Species such as toads and newts use the shelter of hedgerows as protection to crawl along, and bats such as the lesser horseshoe bat that roosts in Wick Court, will find food such as insects along the new hedgerows too.”

The project in the Severn Vale is based around Arlingham near Gloucester and will primarily benefit ponds, a habitat which is massively in decline. It is estimated that 50% of the UK’s ponds were lost in the 20th century.

“We are delighted to be involved with the Severn Ponds project,” said Heather Tarplee, Farm School Manager at Wick Court.
“We are planting hedgerows and trees with the children (some of whom are experiencing the countryside for the first time this week) to improve the farm environment for wildlife and the 1000+ inner-city children who visit here each year.”

Within the Severn Vale, field ponds and hedges are a characteristic feature of historical pastoral farming, the children will be able to return in the future and see just how valuable their planting has been to the wildlife here.