Volunteers Help To Protect Wormwood Scrubs Wildlife

Members of Friends' group assist in hedge laying project

Volunteers working at Wormwood Scrubs
Volunteers working at Wormwood Scrubs

The Friends of Wormwood Scrubs and other local volunteers have been assisting on a council supported project to lay existing hedges to protect wildlife on Wormwood Scrubs.

Each hands-on session is being run by professional hedge-layers who are guiding volunteers on hedge laying using ancient techniques.

The sessions are taking place over two weeks, with attendees learning the basics of hedge-laying during their first workshop and returning to extend and strengthen their hedges across later sessions. Part of their training has also included a talk about the importance of hedgerows to local wildlife and the history of the traditional practice.

“It’s exciting to be working with residents to conserve and protect Wormwood Scrubs. The area is incredibly important to quality of life, both for the residents who visit and the wildlife that lives there,” said Cllr Alexandra Sanderson, Chair of the Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust.

“We’re committed to doing things with residents not too them – and working with local people in caring for and maintaining this valued landscape is just one of the ways we’re doing this.”

Wormwood Scrubs – at more than 200 acres – is Hammersmith & Fulham’s largest open space. The site is home to almost 100 species of birds and 250 species of wildflowers. In 2021 hedge repairs were made to protect the Scrubs’ ecologically significant meadow area and to try and reduce footfall across sensitive areas.

“Hedges are the most biodiverse features of our landscapes. The Scrubs’ hedges are both invaluable green corridors for local wildlife to travel along and protective borders for meadow areas where many native and migrant birds feed and breed. Some of the most important being ground nesting, thus the need to protect the meadow from footfall,” explained Emma Ranson, Trustee of the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs.

“The workshops have been incredibly successful, and we hope the sessions will transform into a seasonal, rolling programme.”

Volunteers working at Wormwood Scrubs
Volunteers working at Wormwood Scrubs

Emma has also worked with volunteers to build a temporary 'dead hedge' around the west edge of the meadow and placed sticks as boundary markers on the north and south area, to guide walkers and to create a safe space for the wildlife displaced by HS2 work.

Currently, part of Wormwood Scrubs is being used for the construction of HS2’s nearby station. To help recover the Scrubs from this development, and to improve the area for more residents to enjoy, a masterplan is being developed by the council.

Part of this work includes opening up some areas of woodland to allow more plants and flowers to grow, planting more trees to give a wider range of species and maintaining long grass areas.

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February 9, 2022