Saturday 28th January was a hive of activity at the WCCC not only was it the Burn’s Night Celebrations but the Growing Together Project Hedge Planting day. I am sure if you are a dog walker or visitor to the village hall, you cannot have failed to observe the appearance of a magnificent 30 metre (90 feet in old money) line of sapling hedging plants.

Pam & Trevor
Saham Toney Volunteers

This work party ‘planting day’ marked the culmination of 6 months of meetings, discussions, site visits and planning. From the initial ‘seed’ of an idea from our own Shelley Mitchell (Nature Notes) this community project, funded by the Peoples Post Code Lottery in conjunction with the Wayland Partnership, has been steadfastly progressed by a small but passionate group of nature loving residents.

As the project worker for this Wayland wide community initiative I have, quite simply, been bowled over by the commitment and community spirit shown by the residents of the parish of Saham Toney. Thanks must go especially to Mr Trevor Bunce who as the ‘team leader’ has done a sterling job in progressing preparations, collecting the plants and pulling together a party of over a dozen residents for the work party.

We can look forward to seeing this beautiful native British hedge flourishing over the next three to four years into a marvellous habitat for wildbirds, bee’s, moths and not forgetting the Brimstone Butterfly’s (as we have included their favourite ‘Buckthorn’ in the hedge mix). The hedge will also provide an important ‘wildlife corridor’ to link in and attract species from around the surrounding areas of the village. A management plan will be put in place to ensure the success of the hedge now that the hard work of planting has been completed, and with a Master Gardner (no pressure Mr Bunce) in charge I am sure it will go from strength to strength!

This is not the only part of the Growing Together Project whose aim it is to create/enhance green spaces for wildlife. You may also have noticed a schedule of ‘tree works’ in the woodland beyond the new hedge. Following on from a full survey by a Norfolk County council approved ‘conservation minded’ tree surgeon, a selective ‘thinning’ programme will also be completed ready in time for the start of the nesting season. Diseased Ash will be removed, saplings thinned to encourage light to the floor of the wood(to encourage wildflowers) and give remaining trees the opportunity to thrive.

It was so exciting to arrive at WCCC on the morning of 28th January and see so many volunteers working hard to plant the hedge, and a real atmosphere of fun and enjoyment prevailed throughout the morning. Some of the work party had also had a very busy day the previous Saturday 21st January, when they supported the Acorn ‘conservation’ Fair at the Queen’s Hall with some splendid exhibition boards illustrating their community project at Wells Cole. I am so proud of the achievements of this community and the Growing Together Project. Whilst it is so rewarding to see the project to fruition, it is tinged with a little sadness that I won’t be seeing so much of my newfound nature loving friends at Saham.