Dorset hedgerow project gets £6,000 funding boost – but needs volunteers

A PROJECT surveying Dorset’s miles of hedgerows has received a funding boost.

The Great Big Dorset Hedge initiative, which seeks to register and improve hedgerows across the county, is organised by the Dorset Climate Action Network (Dorset CAN) charity.

Now, the scheme has received a welcome boost in the form of a £6,000 grant from Dorset CPRE, the local branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Dorset CPRE trustees agreed a funding request for the project to sustain the momentum as they manage further growth and in recognition of the ambition and potential of the project.

“Dorset CAN is very grateful but also recognises that Dorset CPRE has been with us, right from the start of the programme,” a spokesperson said.

“Hedgerows are a crucial part of our ecosystem and biodiversity here in Dorset. The project plans to grow throughout 2024.

“So far, more than 2,000 volunteer hours have been dedicated to hedgerow surveys, provided by more than 150 active volunteers.”

Specialist support is provided by Alex Stephen and Vicki Gallagher.

“We would not be able to grow without Alex and Vicki in place and, right now, that is all due to the generous support we obtain from Dorset CPRE,” said John Calder, the voluntary project manager.

He said the group hopes to increase surveys from 20km of hedgerow per month, to closer to 50km.

“Farmers are taking note with over 50 signed up. The localised voluntary teams continue to be energised and become more self-sufficient,” he added.

Dorset CPRE president, Kate Adie, and chair Neil Matthews both joined John Calder and Linda Williams on a frosty January morning to sample the delights of the GBDH survey process in Chilfrome, near Maiden Newton.

“Hedgerows are the single most important wildlife corridors in the countryside,” Mr Matthews said. “They join up habitats and make the English landscape immediately recognisable.

“The work of John Calder and his team is invaluable in helping farmers manage and sustain their hedges for now and for the future.

“I am so pleased Dorset CPRE is able to support this vital project.”

Meanwhile, more volunteers are being sought to help grow the scheme.

Readers who wish to join the GBDH Volunteers can find out more, and sign up, via

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