Estate hedge project sees thousands of plants planted

The Apley Estate team in Bridgnorth has spent the first part of this year planting 10,000 new hedge plants.

They will eventually grow to create an additional 2.5km of hedgerow.

The hedges are being planted entirely with native species including hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose, holly, hazel and field maple, and form part of a wider Mad Brook project that is being delivered in partnership with Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

Mad Brook is a tributary of the River Worfe that runs through the Apley Estate and into the River Severn to the north of Bridgnorth.

In addition, oaks are being planted every 10m to 15m and will be allowed to grow into hedgerow trees.

As well as the hedging, the project has involved the removal of some diseased or non-native trees, creating leaky dams which slow the flow of the river and wet the surrounding land, and planting some new native tree species including alder and oak.

Gavin Hamilton, the owner of the Apley Estate said: “The River Worfe runs right through the estate and the quality of its water and catchment is of vital importance to us and everyone in the area. We have an ongoing programme of work with the Shropshire Wildlife Trust to improve the catchment of the entire river and have encouraged our neighbouring landowners to get involved with some significant successes so far.”

Apley Estate Director, Graeme Manton added: “Hedgerows make excellent corridors for wildlife, especially birds, bats, butterflies and many other pollinators. The expertise that the Wildlife Trust brings is invaluable and is helping us to achieve our goals of more sustainable and environmentally beneficial farming and land management. The mature hedgerow will also have a significant positive visual impact on the local landscape.”

Further works planned throughout the year include re-wetting of areas adjacent to the river to create a more diverse habitat and the creation of scrapes, features that hold water for longer and encourage a greater variety of flora and insect life.

There will also be some management of the existing trees on the side of the riverbank to ensure there are clear water areas and dappled shade.