The Ealing Southall Park hedge project tapped into some interesting developments in the way public space can be managed as well as new ideas about ‘rewilding’ public green space and community involvement.
The Wild Hedges for Urban Edges idea fits really well with the current drive to ‘rewild’ areas making them good for wildlife as well as good for people:
• Habitats expanding instead of shrinking
• Wildlife multiplying instead of disappearing
• People reconnecting with the wonder of nature
• Communities flourishing with new opportunities.
We have known for a long time that hedges make excellent wildlife corridors and because they don’t need to take up much space they are good for urban situations - small pockets of land, park edges or corners of school grounds.
We asked out Tree Wardens to sugest sites for Wild Urban Hedges and Southall Park was one of their sugestions.
The hedges planted in Southall Park replaced an old formal garden and beds that were used for formal bedding.
The local community were consulted and did not want to lose the area to grass. We worked with Tree Wardens, the local transition group, scouts and the local school, to come up with a plan that would regenerate this area of the park.
The community undertook the planting of over 2,000 fruiting hedge plants and have been given training so they can take on their maintenance.
The formal garden area is now a series of wild hedges with small apple and pear orchards and fruit gardens that will benefit and be looked after by the local community, be great for wildlife, contribute to the ‘rewilding’ of the park and save the local council money.