The Hope Showground was a hive of activity on a grey day in February as over twenty farmers from the Hope Valley Farmers and Bradfield Farmers groups picked up their free trees and hedges supplied by the Woodland Trust.
Twenty members from the two groups will plant the 2000 oak trees and 2000 metres of new hedges on their farms this winter. These wooded features will provide valuable links between existing habitats for birds, small mammals and invertebrates.
One farmer member from Hope aims to plant the trees and shrubs in 12 metre wide corridors, allowing wildlife to move across his scenic farm on Win Hill near Hope.
“Rather than just plant a normal hedgerow, I want to create these wide shrubby habitats as they will be brilliant for birds and mammals. It will allow these species to move between my existing woodlands and scrubby areas and will also enhance the landscape,” he said.
Christine Harding organised the tree and hedge collection on behalf of Hope Valley Farmers and she was delighted to see the enthusiasm amongst the farmers about the initiative. She says: “It was great to see so many farmers from our groups taking advantage of the hedges and trees offer and enjoying some banter at the Showground. It really made all the head scratching that went on beforehand worthwhile.”
Chloe Palmer, Facilitator of Hope Valley and Bradfield Farmers explains that the tree and hedge collection is part of a wider project with Hope Valley Climate Action and the Peak District National Park Authority’s Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) fund: “Many farmers are keen to create new hedgerows but until recently the funding has not been available to cover the cost of fencing these to prevent damage by grazing livestock.
“Hope Valley Climate Action has sourced funding from the National Park’s FiPL fund and a generous donation from Breedon Hope Cement to cover the cost of the fencing and to provide a small contribution to the cost of planting and maintaining the hedges.
“We have also linked up with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Hedgerow Carbon Code pilot project which will calculate how much carbon these new hedges will sequester over a period. In the future, this may allow farmers to secure payments in the form of carbon credits in return for establishing