Sidmouth Arboretum has finished its latest tree planting season with the creation of a wildlife corridor hedgerow at Lower Sweetcombe Farm.

The Arboretum is working with Sidmouth Town Council to plant a young tree or hedge whip for everyone who lives in the Sid Valley.  So far more than 9,500 have been planted, and the team are already looking for new sites for the next season which begins in October.

The new wildlife corridor was planted by 11 volunteers on Saturday, February 10. They put 750 young tree whips into the ground alongside the bridleway leading from Little Sweetcombe on Hatway Hill down towards Upper and Lower Sweetcombe Farms.  

As it grows, the hedgerow will provide new habitats for biodiversity and act as a corridor to connect isolated populations of invertebrates and small mammals, something that is essential for healthy wildlife.  

The pasture beside the bridleway is very wet for much of the year. The hedgerow will be another element in the plan that is developing to slow the run-off of groundwater after heavy rain. This is a key part of a river catchment scheme being driven by the Sid Valley Biodiversity Group, and further details will be announced later this year.  The hedgerow will also make a contribution to local carbon capture targets.

The 750 tree whips were paid for by the Tree Council, the national organisation that came out of the ‘Plant A Tree In 73’ campaign responding to the ravages of Dutch Elm Disease.  The Tree Council administers the Branching Out Fund, giving grants that support tree and hedgerow planting across England.

Ed Dolphin, treasurer to Sidmouth Arboretum Trust, said: “It is very heartening to see volunteers giving up their time to help the environment, and we are delighted that the Tree Council has been able to support our project.  Not only did they pay for the tree whips, they were very helpful arranging the supply and delivery when we were unable to obtain locally grown stock.”