Dead hedges & ditches

This past Wednesday, a group of 65 gallant volunteers from Arup‘s environmental team came to Horsenden for an afternoon of conservation and farm volunteering activities. They split into three teams: log splitters, dead hedge makers, and pond restorers and ditch diggers.

Dead hedging:

The recent hedgelaying courses and sessions along Horsenden Lane produced a large amount of arisings – branches and twigs cut from the hedge during its laying. The volunteers created “dead hedges” from these – functional barriers (for when our Shetland cows and their calves browse the new pasture there) and habitat piles that provide excellent shelter and future food source for small animals and insects of all kinds.

Pond and ditch restoration:

The ponds and ditches of the former village (or hamlet) or Brabsden are part of the wider drainage of Horsenden West, feeding into Colne Brook that goes under the canal, supplying Paradise Fields. As well as restoring an historically important and ecologically diverse part of Horsenden for the public to enjoy, the work done to clear and reinstate the old ponds and ditches will be important in the forthcoming beaver release, providing them with an opportunity to work their ecosystem engineering magic.

Never know what you might find!

Following the session, Elliot Newton from Citizen Zoo gave an educational talk about beavers and the project to do a controlled introduction of a pair of beavers in Paradise Fields.

Excellent work was done all round, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Well done and thank you Arup for all of your hard work!


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