Woodoaks Farm becomes hedgerow heaven
Woodoaks Farm started its organic conversion in 2020, focusing on improving soil fertility across three major fields. Herbal leys have been sown and new hedgerows planted.
Rose Lewis, Woodoaks Programme Manager, gives us an update.
Bringing it back to life
Our largest field is 70 acres. It sits away from the main farm and is the last one to be transitioned to organic – we have exciting plans for it. With help and advice from the Farming and Land Use team and a mid-tier stewardship grant, we are moving away from a monocultural biodiversity desert to a real project for the future – our first agroforestry project.
Earlier this year we set about dividing the field into six areas of 24m, with rows of wildflowers separating the strips.
But the real magic happened at the end of November when over 4000 hedge plants arrived to be planted across two of the rows, totalling an astonishing 1km of the new hedgerows! One of these rows followed the ancient hedgerow line that appears in our 1847 map of the farm.
With the help of 80 volunteers over 4 days, we planted and mulched over 10 different species of hedgerow plants. It’s so exciting to imagine that these will become food and shelter to a huge variety of wildlife and will become corridors for them, connecting this far-flung field to other areas of the farm.
Volunteers came from schools, community groups, local businesses, family days, and even a team from the Soil Association. Everyone has loved getting involved and learning about why hedges are the superheroes of the farm landscape.
Over the coming years we plan to gradually plant new hedges and trees that separate each of the 24m strips to create a truly diverse landscape that will produce multiple food crops, create habitat for wildlife and mitigate against climate change, creating a legacy for future generations.
Our role at Woodoaks
Woodoaks Farm was donated to the Soil Association Land Trust in 2020 by owner Sally Findlay, to ensure it will be farmed sustainably into the future. It’s currently in the process of converting to organic farming.
Pictures are from our recent planting days.
Find out more
Lots of other work is happening at Woodoaks. The website has information about other enterprises, and how the public are being encouraged to join in. See Woodoaksfarm.com for more.
We also have a lively Facebook page.