News Students Support #iwill Campaign 11.01.2023

Collyer’s Biology and Environmental Science students have been supporting the #iwill campaign by learning the ancient skill of hedge-laying. Led by an experienced instructor, Darren Hammerton, the students helped to restore a 20 year old hedge at Butser Ancient Farm.

Dawn Kirby, Assistant Project Management Officer at South Downs National Park Authority, explained: “This training was part of the Hampshire Hedgerows project at South Downs National Park. The project focuses on the delivery of hedgerow restoration – through coppicing, gapping up, planting and laying – at various sites within the Selborne Landscape Partnership and Winchester Downs Farm Cluster areas. The project also provides training in the traditional rural skill of hedgelaying.”

By extending and improving the quality of hedgerows, the project is increasing habitat connectivity and diversity, allowing species to spread through and between habitats. It’s also delivering nature-based solutions, including: absorbing more water during periods of heavy rain, reducing soil-run-off and cross-land water flows at restored field boundaries, providing shade for livestock, foraging and nesting opportunities for wildlife and carbon sequestration.

This project is funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

Murray Tarvis, who teaches Biology and Environmental Science at Collyer’s, co-ordinated the trip. He said “This sort of event is perfect for our students and gives them the chance to learn practical conservation skills.”

Dawn Kirby added: “The students found the day a lot of fun and well worth the hard work – especially the sense of achievement at the end of the day.”

Vice Principal (Curriculum) Rob Hussey was delighted: “What an incredibly valuable, hands-on educational opportunity. Huge thanks to Collyer’s Murray Tarvis and Louise Bidlake, and Dawn Kirby and Darren Hammerton from South Downs National Park for making this day so special.”