20 Volunteers from Sidmouth Arboretum and Sid Valley Biodiversity Group spent last weekend planting 1,500 young whips at Farway Common Airfield.

It took place on February 3 and 4 and took three hours on Saturday and two hours on Sunday creating 350m of hedgerow between the runway of the airfield and Seaton Road. 

The group say this will have several benefits including creating new habitats for biodiversity, and it will be an element in an evolving whole river catchment scheme to slow run off from the upper slopes of the valley after heavy rain.

The two groups have a challenge to plant 14,000 young trees around the valley. The whips were provided through a combination of a donation from the site owners James and Catherine Hortop, a grant from the East Devon Community Projects Fund and 420 whips from the Woodland Trust. 

The volunteers enjoyed sausage sandwiches and homemade soup which was appreciated greatly to boost energy on what is quite an exposed site.

James said, “Thank you to everyone who came up to help planting hedges today, we really enjoyed meeting you and working alongside you to help improve bio-diversity at Farway.”

The hedgerow is just one of several environmental improvement projects for the site.  James and Catherine are working with the Sid Valley Biodiversity Group and other organisations improving the site for its bat population and promoting the wildflower diversity of the expanse of traditional meadow.  The Biodiversity Group will be arranging a wild flower walk across the site later in the year for people on their mailing list.

There is another planting session further down the Roncombe Valley on Saturday February 10.