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Dead Hedge Project

Our Roots & Shoots After School Club have been looking at ways they could tidy up and separate our composting area from our wild meadow. We wanted to make a fence of some kind but wanted to make it look as natural as possible. One of the children said, whilst on a  family-walk, they had seen a hedge made out of twigs. We all thought a fence made from twigs would be a great idea so we searched for images on the internet. We found a ‘dead hedge’ that looked exactly like the hedge the pupil had seen. Studying the picture, we could see that it was something that we could make and maintain in school as we have quite a few trees and hedges thus enabling us to gather small fallen branches, twigs and sticks. It was also very interesting to read about the benefits that a ‘dead hedge’ offered. The twigs and sticks offer small mammals and amphibians natural shelter giving protection from the elements and predators. It also gives instant habitats for insects and beetles, this then means it makes a rich feeding ground for birds and hedgehogs; a valuable addition for the wildlife.

The children spent their after school club session hammering in wooden stakes to mark out the hedge, we then went around collecting fallen twigs and sticks to weave between the stakes. The children all worked extremely hard and by the end of the session, they had constructed the framework for one side of the planned hedge and had added the base layer.

This is going to be an amazing addition to our wildlife area. Not only do you have the benefits as listed above, we are also going to grow some honeysuckle and ivy through it as an added wildlife value to attract bees and butterflies. As well as this, as the hedge rots down, the nutrients are recycled back into the earth below, meaning our garden ‘waste’ needn’t go into garden bins or on bonfires. Creating this dead hedge will be an ongoing activity, as we can add to it every time we prune a tree or cut back a shrub; not only does it keep everything looking tidy, it serves as a fantastic wildlife shelter and natural larder.

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