We held a community planting workshop in the sunshine in Whyteleafe on Saturday. With funding from the Community Foundation Surrey, we had a lovely group of people helping us plant a new hedgerow. We chose Remembrance weekend to invite the community to Plant a Tree for Peace. We planted a native mix of blackthorn, dogwood, dog rose, field maple and hazel saplings, helping to increase the biodiversity of this lovely patch of green belt.

Participants of all ages got the chance to plant a native tree sapling along one of the fence lines. Around 150 trees were planted on Saturday afternoon. Surrey County Council has pledged to plant 1.2 million trees by 2030 on sites just like the former horse paddock we gathered people to plant on last Saturday. And our work adds to this goal.

We were delighted to have local Councillor Sakina Bradbury, a friend of the project, join us for the afternoon. Cllr Bradbury has a keen interest in health and wellbeing. Given how important green spaces are to our physical and mental wellbeing, as well as to nature, we are looking forward to brainstorming together on how the space can be used to support the Community Vision for Surrey by 2030 ambition that: ‘Everyone lives healthy, active and fulfilling lives and makes good choices about their wellbeing.’

According to the CPRE, who support our aims for this project, “hedgerows are the vital stitching in the patchwork of our countryside. Not only are they beautiful, with shifting seasonal colours, but they also provide homes and corridors for wildlife. And all the while they help tackle the climate crisis by capturing carbon.”

The CPRE campaigned successfully to persuade the government to accept the Climate Change Committee’s call for a 40% increase in the extent of hedgerows by 2050 to help tackle the climate emergency. Roots for the Future’s current and future hedgerow plantings contribute to these goals, securing green belt sites, such as Stablefields in Whyteleafe, as biodiversity asset in perpetuity.

The project also wants to address the continuing need to provide safe and expansive green spaces for all young people and children, and particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds in Whyteleafe who may not have access to a garden at home.

With our future projects, we hope to encourage continued participation and new friendships.